Drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid. Drowning outcomes are classified as death, morbidity, and no morbidity – the latter two are now referred to as “non-fatal drownings”.
The most important consequence of drowning is interruption of the oxygen supply to the brain. Early rescue and resuscitation by trained first responders or first aiders at the scene offer the victim the best chance of survival.
Use of the AED.
If available, the AED should be attached, and the prompts followed. Dry the victim’s chest before applying pads. Although the rhythm deterioration in drowning is usually to a non-shockable rhythm, the AED may be lifesaving in 6% of drowning victims who, on initial assessment, are found to have a shockable cardiac rhythm.
The primary cause of cardiac arrest in drowning is a lack of breathing. Compression-only CPR circulates oxygen-poor blood and fails to address the victim’s need for immediate ventilation. It is not the recommended resuscitation method in a victim of drowning and should only be used temporarily if the rescuer is unable or unwilling to perform rescue breathing before the arrival of a barrier device, face mask or bag-valve-mask device.
The administration of oxygen is beneficial in the resuscitation of drowned victims, but resuscitation efforts should not be delayed while waiting for oxygen equipment to become available.