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Schilling U. M. 1, 2, Bortolin M. 3, 4
1 Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, Linköpings University, Linköpings, Sweden;
2 Department of Accidents and Emergences, Linköpings University, Linköpings, Sweden;
3 Disaster Medicine Section, Department of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA;
4 Servizio Emergenza Territoriale 118, Turin, Italy
Approximately 500,000 deaths due to drowning are reported annually, 30,000 of which are reported in Europe. Because of the relatively low incidence of drowning victims at emergency departments, most emergency physicians do not routinely handle drowning victims. Although confusion regarding the classification and pathophysiology of drowning could be reduced by following the Utstein style consensus, the application of therapeutic modalities and, most important, the estimation of probable prognostic outcomes remain difficult for emergency physicians. This article presents an overview of the classification, pathophysiology, emergency-department treatment and prognostic outcomes of drowning accidents.