Predictors for hospital admission of asymptomatic to moderately symptomatic children after drowning

Neta Cohen, Tali Capua, Sharon Lahat, Miguel Glatstein, Efraim Sadot, Ayelet Rimon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Drowning is a leading cause of injury-related death worldwide, but there are limited data on the management and disposition of asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic adults and children following a drowning event. Some authors have recommended admission for all drowning victims due to the possibility of respiratory and clinical deterioration in a seemingly well patient. In order to identify predictors for admission and to establish a unified approach for management, we retrospectively collected all children ≤ 16 years old presented following a drowning event to the pediatric ED over a period of 12 years. The children were divided into two groups, those who were discharged home from the ED and those who were admitted. Seventy-one surviving and non-intubated children were asymptomatic to moderately symptomatic, and they comprised the study group. Crepitations on lung auscultation, oxygen desaturation, and respiratory distress were significantly higher in the admitted group (n = 26) compared with the discharged group (n = 45) (P < 0.05). Respiratory distress and lung crepitations were independent predictors for admission. Eventually, 30% of the hospitalized patients required oxygen therapy, but there were no cases that deteriorated and required invasive ventilation. No readmissions occurred in the group of children who were discharged from the ED. Conclusion: Children who after six hours show no respiratory distress and have normal oxygen saturation and normal auscultation can be safely discharged home. Respiratory distress and lung crepitations should both warrant the physician to consider admission of asymptomatic to moderately symptomatic children following a drowning event. An algorithm to assist patient management is proposed.What is Known:•There are few data in the literature regarding the management and disposition of asymptomatic to moderately symptomatic children after drowning.What is New:•We found that respiratory distress and lung crepitations are independent predictors for admission. An algorithm to assist patient management is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1379-1384
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Volume178
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • Children
  • Disposition
  • Lung crepitations
  • Non-fatal drowning event
  • Respiratory distress

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