Physiology Of Drowning: A Review.


Journal Article (Review)

Drowning physiology relates to two different events: immersion (upper airway above water) and submersion (upper airway under water). Immersion involves integrated cardiorespiratory responses to skin and deep body temperature, including cold shock, physical incapacitation, and hypovolemia, as precursors of collapse and submersion. The physiology of submersion includes fear of drowning, diving response, autonomic conflict, upper airway reflexes, water aspiration and swallowing, emesis, and electrolyte disorders. Submersion outcome is determined by cardiac, pulmonary, and neurological injury. Knowledge of drowning physiology is scarce. Better understanding may identify methods to improve survival, particularly related to hot-water immersion, cold shock, cold-induced physical incapacitation, and fear of drowning.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bierens, JJLM; Lunetta, P; Tipton, M; Warner, DS

Published Date

  • March 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 31 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 147 - 166

PubMed ID

  • 26889019

Pubmed Central ID

  • 26889019

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1548-9221

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1152/physiol.00002.2015


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States