Abstract Title

Drowning in North Texas: A Six-Year Retrospective Census

Presenter Name

Marc Jones

Abstract

Background: Drowning as a cause of death is a substantial concern among many communities, coastal or otherwise. It ranks among the leading causes of mortality among all age groups, especially in the pediatric population. In the United States alone, drowning accounts for 6000-8000 deaths annually. Therefore, it is imperative to be aware of the most common risks and circumstances involved in drowning.

Method: In this study, data was collected from case files of drowning incidents that passed through a medical examiner’s office over a six year period in order to determine the following questions: what subpopulations are most at risk for drowning? Where do drowning incidents most commonly occur? And what are the risk factors and circumstances that prevented the victims from being extricated from danger?

Results: The data (n=234) indicated a predominance of male victims. In addition, an analysis of victims by age interval revealed a bimodal distribution with toddlers and collegiate age individuals being the most susceptible. With regards to location, swimming pools and lakes were the most common scenes of drowning. Identification of the lakes was performed to determine the sites where drowning occurred most frequently. One lake, Lake Lewisville, accounted for just over 25 percent of all recorded lake drownings in the area. Similarly, swimming pools were categorized as being private or public and inground or above ground. An overwhelming majority of the pools were determined to be private (82%) and inground (68%). Swimming pools also accounted for two-thirds of all pediatric drowning events. In the same vein, sufficient adult supervision was lacking in 90 percent of all pediatric drowning cases and barriers to pool entry were inadequate in 72 percent. In adult drowning incidents, alcohol use was found to be the most frequent risk factor present. Lastly, the phenomenon of “dry” drowning, in which the airways and lungs remain essentially free of the drowning medium, was considered and a novel set of criteria was generated to classify such cases. Eight percent of drowning events were identified as “dry” drowning but this sampling of individuals did not exhibit any discernible pattern with regards to demographics or circumstances.

Conclusion: Overall, this study corroborates and expands upon present knowledge and understanding of the epidemiology of drowning. Recognition of the most susceptible victims as well as the most likely circumstances surrounding drowning is invaluable to the formulation of strategies and the distribution of education to prevent drowning in the future.

Presentation Type

Poster

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Drowning in North Texas: A Six-Year Retrospective Census

Background: Drowning as a cause of death is a substantial concern among many communities, coastal or otherwise. It ranks among the leading causes of mortality among all age groups, especially in the pediatric population. In the United States alone, drowning accounts for 6000-8000 deaths annually. Therefore, it is imperative to be aware of the most common risks and circumstances involved in drowning.

Method: In this study, data was collected from case files of drowning incidents that passed through a medical examiner’s office over a six year period in order to determine the following questions: what subpopulations are most at risk for drowning? Where do drowning incidents most commonly occur? And what are the risk factors and circumstances that prevented the victims from being extricated from danger?

Results: The data (n=234) indicated a predominance of male victims. In addition, an analysis of victims by age interval revealed a bimodal distribution with toddlers and collegiate age individuals being the most susceptible. With regards to location, swimming pools and lakes were the most common scenes of drowning. Identification of the lakes was performed to determine the sites where drowning occurred most frequently. One lake, Lake Lewisville, accounted for just over 25 percent of all recorded lake drownings in the area. Similarly, swimming pools were categorized as being private or public and inground or above ground. An overwhelming majority of the pools were determined to be private (82%) and inground (68%). Swimming pools also accounted for two-thirds of all pediatric drowning events. In the same vein, sufficient adult supervision was lacking in 90 percent of all pediatric drowning cases and barriers to pool entry were inadequate in 72 percent. In adult drowning incidents, alcohol use was found to be the most frequent risk factor present. Lastly, the phenomenon of “dry” drowning, in which the airways and lungs remain essentially free of the drowning medium, was considered and a novel set of criteria was generated to classify such cases. Eight percent of drowning events were identified as “dry” drowning but this sampling of individuals did not exhibit any discernible pattern with regards to demographics or circumstances.

Conclusion: Overall, this study corroborates and expands upon present knowledge and understanding of the epidemiology of drowning. Recognition of the most susceptible victims as well as the most likely circumstances surrounding drowning is invaluable to the formulation of strategies and the distribution of education to prevent drowning in the future.