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Perks
04-05-2011, 09:02 PM
I know we have some lovelies in (or formerly in) the medical fields here on AW, and I need some information about what a revived drowning victim might expect in the hospital as far as procedures, length of stay, possible complications, and those sorts of things.

Any experts around?

sheadakota
04-05-2011, 09:09 PM
Cold water or warm water/ salt water or fresh?

Perks
04-05-2011, 09:12 PM
Oh! Sorry. Yeah, I meant to add that it's a drowning in a cold river, revived by trained medics called to the scene.

sheadakota
04-05-2011, 09:31 PM
All righty- I am assuming there was no heart beat or respiratory effort at the scene (pt was clinically dead when medics got there) Assuming they resucitated at scene ( heart rate back) They would have intabated at scene (breathing tube inserted) and placed IVs and most likely gived steroids to reduce the risk of intracranial swelling.
This pt would be admitted to ICU and kept on a ventilator and most likely kept cold again to reduce brain swelling. Perhaps even placed in a drug-induced coma- depends on how long pt was under, how difficult it was to re-gain heart rate and what if any neuro repsonses pt displays at scene and in trauma bay. I am assuming the worse case scenario here- pt would b kept cold and in an induced coma for a day or two (possibly more) then they would start to slowly warm them up and back off on the coma and hope they wake up and start following commands.
If the person drowned in very cold water it is likely brain function was preserved by something called the diving reflex(thought only to be present in infants, but some research shows the possibility of it happening in adults in this instance)

Also it depends on if it was a 'dry' drowning, or a 'wet' drowning. In dry drowning the trachea will constrict to keep water from entering the lungs and the pt actually dies from asphyxiation- in a wet drowning water enters the lungs and the pt is at risk for all types of infections to the respiratory system - most notably pneumonia.

Once the person is awake and responding they will attempt to remove the ventaltor and have them breath on thier own - antibiotics will be given to reduce the risk of system wide infections- all in all - best case scenario I would say a week minimum in an ICU setting then maybe another in a step-down unit-

Perks
04-05-2011, 10:52 PM
This is great information. You have leapt to the top of my favorite persons list today.

Can I ask, why would the brain swell, or be at risk to do so?

sheadakota
04-05-2011, 11:13 PM
:) depriving the brain of O2 can cause swelling- not always but it is a risk-