Open main menu

Wikipedia β

Dry drowning is a term that has never had an accepted medical definition, and that is currently medically discredited.[1][2] Following the 2002 World Congress on Drowning in Amsterdam, a consensus definition of drowning was established. Based on this definition, drowning is the "process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid."[3] This definition resulted in only three legitimate drowning subsets: fatal drowning, non-fatal drowning with illness/injury, and non-fatal drowning without illness/injury.[4] In response, major medical consensus organizations have adopted this definition worldwide and have officially discouraged any medical or publication use of the term "dry drowning".[1] Such organizations include the World Health Organization,[5] the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation,[6] the Wilderness Medical Society,[7] the American Heart Association,[8] the Utstein Style system,[6] the International Lifesaving Federation, [9] the International Conference on Drowning,[3] Starfish Aquatics Institute,[10] the American Red Cross,[11] the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),[12][13][14] and the American College of Emergency Physicians[15]. While the World Health Organization does mention dry drowning in one of its websites and describes it as a situation where airways close due to spasms following exposure to water, this same website is tagged with a banner announcement that "the information provided here is out of date... an updated revision will be published shortly". [16]

Dry drowning



Drowning experts have recognized that the end result pathophysiology of hypoxemia, acidemia, and eventual death is the same whether water entered the lung or not. As this distinction does not change management or prognosis, but causes significant confusion due to alternate definitions and misunderstandings, it is generally established that pathophysiological discussions of "dry" versus "wet" drowning are not relevant to drowning care. [17]


Also sometimes known as secondary drowning, delayed drowning, parking lot drowning, sleep drowning, all of which are discredited terms as discussed above.

News AccountsEdit

"Dry drowning" is frequently cited in the news with a wide variety of definitions, and is often confused with the equally inappropriate and discredited term "secondary drowning" or "delayed drowning". [18] Various conditions including spontaneous pneumothorax, chemical pneumonitis, bacterial or viral pneumonia, head injury, asthma, heart attack, and chest trauma have been misattributed to the erroneous terms "delayed drowning", "secondary drowning", and "dry drowning". Currently there has never been a case identified in the medical literature where a patient was clinically observed to be without symptoms and who died hours or days later as a direct result of drowning alone.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Hawkins, SC; Sempsrott, J.; Schmidt, A. "Drowning in a Sea of Misinformation: Dry Drowning and Secondary Drowning.". Emergency Medicine News. 
  2. ^ Szpilman, D; Bierens JL; Handley A; Orlowski JP. "Drowning.". New England Journal of Medicine. 10 (2): 2102–2110. 
  3. ^ a b van Beeck, EF (2006). "Definition of Drowning". In Handbook on Drowning: Prevention, Rescue, Treatment. Berlin: Springer. 
  4. ^ Van Beeck, EF; Branche, CM (2005). "A new definition of drowning: towards documentation and prevention of a global public health program.". Bull World Health Organ. 83: 853–856. 
  5. ^ "Drowning Fact Sheet". World Health Organization. May 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Idris, AH (2003). "Recommended Guidelines for Uniform Reporting of Data from Drowning.". Circulation. 108 (20): 2565–2574. 
  7. ^ Schmidt, AC; Sempsrott JR; Hawkins SC (2016). "Wilderness Medical Society Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Drowning.". Wilderness & Environmental Medicine. 27 (2): 236–51. Retrieved August 25, 2017. 
  8. ^ "2005 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care.". Circulation. 112 (24). 2005. Retrieved August 25, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Lifesaving Position Statement LPS 17: Definition of Drowning.". International Life Saving Federation. March 9, 2016. Retrieved August 25, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Defining Drowning". Starfish Aquatics Institute. April 7, 2015. Retrieved August 25, 2017. 
  11. ^ Tobin, JM; Rossano JW; Wernicki PG (2017). "Dry Drowning: A Distinction without a Difference.". Resuscitation. Retrieved August 25, 2017. 
  12. ^ Gilchrist, A (2004). "Nonfatal and Fatal Drownings in Recreational Water Settings-United States 2001-2002". Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report. 53: 447–452. 
  13. ^ "Dry Drowning". Snopes. June 8, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Water-Related Injuries.". US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Jun 12, 2008. Archived from the original on July 19, 2008. Retrieved August 25, 2017. 
  15. ^ American College of Emergency Physicians Press Release (July 11, 2017). "Death After Swimming Is Extremely Rare and is NOT Dry Drowning.". American College of Emergency Physicians. Retrieved August 25, 2017. 
  16. ^ Water-related Diseases. World Health Organization (2017). at <>
  17. ^ Sempsrott, J; Schmidt, AC; Hawkins, SC (2017). "Drowning and Submersion Injuries". In Auerbach's Wilderness Medicine 7th edition. Philadelphia: Elsevier. 
  18. ^ Sempsrott, J. "Wet and Wild: Drowning & Water Injuries: Dry Drowning and Secondary Drowning.". Wilderness Medicine Magazine.