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Near drowning in a 48-year-old man
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  • Published on:
    Drowning in a 48-year-old man
    • Allart M. Venema, Anesthesiologist Department of Anesthesiology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
    • Other Contributors:
      • Anthony R. Absalom, Professor of Anesthesiology
      • J.K.Götz Wietasch, Professor of Anesthesiology


    We congratulate McDowell et al. on their educational and interesting case report.1 However, we would like to comment on their use of the term ‘near-drowning’. This, and other confusing and older terms which caused inconsistencies in the literature, have been abandoned by organisations such as the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) who recommend a more structured and clearer way of reporting drowning incidents.2,3 For several years now, drowning has been defined as ‘a process resulting in primary respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in a liquid medium. Implicit in this definition is that a liquid/air interface is present at the entrance of the victim’s airway, preventing the victim from breathing air. The victim may live or die after this process, but whatever the outcome, he or she has been involved in a drowning incident’. 2,3 We would thus recommend that the authors and readers of your journal follow ILCOR and WHO recommendations, and simply use the term ‘drowning’ irrespective of the patient outcome. While this may seem pedantic, we do believe that it will assist with standardisation in drowning research and literature.


    1. McDowell K, Carrick D, Weir R. Heart Published Online First: 18 may 2017. doi:10.1136/heartjnl-2016-311043.
    2. Idris AH, Berg RA, Bierens J, Bossaert L, Branche CM, Gabrielli A, Graves SA, Handley AJ, Hoelle R, Morley PT, Papa L, Pepe...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    Allart Venema is a member of the writing group on behalf of the revised Utstein Style For Drowning that has been accepted for publication.