PSA - Shallow water drowning, aka shallow water blackout

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In summary, a 27-year old man with no preexisting cardiac conditions held his breath underwater, causing his heart to stop. This is surprising as it is a seemingly harmless activity that many people do without any issues. However, it is important to consider all possible causes, such as hypoxic blackout or preexisting cardiac conditions, when evaluating a patient who has lost consciousness in the water. Due to the risk of hyperventilation and subsequent hypoxia, records for underwater swimming have been discontinued.
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Astronuc
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An unexpected result from a seemingly harmless activity - holding one's breath underwater.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/watched-husband-almost-die-front-104525608.html

An otherwise healthy 27-year old man held his breath underwater, then his heart stopped.

It is surprising, since I used to do that in swimming pools, in competition with my brother, or just to see how far I could swim underwater before surfacing. I managed to swim two laps. My brother and I had contests to see who could hold his breath the longest, but we did that sitting in chairs.
 
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I'd like to see what the cardiac rhythm was that he presented during this. It's not obvious why the drowning would lead to cardiac arrest (presumably ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachcardia, which are the two primary shockable rhythms). This article seems to imply that pre-existing cardiac conditions can lead to cardiac arrest in drowning victims, but the usual problems are hypoxia and fluid in the lungs, not cardiac arrest.

Glad that he survived.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554620/
If no pulse is present, initiate CPR for five cycles (about 2 min), starting with chest compressions, 30 compressions, then two rescue breaths in the cycle. Initiate advanced life support early, which includes advanced airway and use of an automated AED as equipment availability permits. Regurgitation of stomach contents is the most common complication during drowning resuscitation.[2] Active efforts to expel water from the airway with abdominal thrusts or head down positioning should be avoided as they delay ventilation and increase the risk of vomiting and mortality. All water rescue patients who lost consciousness, even if brief, should undergo hospital evaluation. Most patients who require resuscitation efforts will require ICU hospital admission and possibly mechanical ventilation.[2]

Differential Diagnosis​

The unexpected demise of a swimmer can have multiple causes. When evaluating a patient who has lost consciousness in the water, it is crucial to consider all possible causes to intervene effectively. Hypoxic blackout (unconsciousness due to hypoxia) is one of the most common underlying causes of morbidity and mortality in the water. Other differentials to consider are preexistent organic cardiac disease (coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathy), preexistent cardiac arrhythmias, and epilepsy.[2] All of these conditions undergo exacerbation in the oxygen-starved apneic environment of being underwater. Some data has shown that a prolonged QT can also contribute to an increased risk of underwater unconsciousness. Prolonged QT is inducable by medications, metabolic disturbances (hypokalemia), or alcohol.[9] In general, with cardiac-related drowning, the swimmer is usually observed to have stopped swimming on the surface and may demonstrate unusual non-sustained behavior. On the other hand, in a hypoxic blackout, the swimmer may be seen hyperventilating before going underwater, which is followed by failure to surface. Considering these differentials will increase the efficacy of rescue efforts.
 
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Astronuc said:
An otherwise healthy 27-year old man held his breath underwater, then his heart stopped.
They stopped having time records for underwater swimming when so many people died of Hypoxia after hyperventilating. The contestants would have so little CO2 in their blood that there was no urge to breathe and the O2 was used up but they kept swimming. (fixity of purpose is a symptom of Hypoxia)
 
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sophiecentaur said:
They stopped having time records for underwater swimming when so many people died of Hypoxia after hyperventilating.
I did distance trials underwater.
sophiecentaur said:
The contestants would have so little CO2 in their blood that there was no urge to breathe and the O2 was used up
I've heard about that. I never lost the urge to breathe, especially at the end.
 
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Astronuc said:
I did distance trials underwater.
In my amateur diving course, years ago, we were told that records were not recognised under hyperventilation. There were cases of divers just dying in record attempts.

Things / procedures may have changed since the 80's. Perhaps the regs and supervision are more controlled nowadays. The fact that you never lost the urge to breathe in strongly suggests that you didn't hyperventilate, I suppose. As a teenager I tried it (on dry land) and found that by hyperventilating, I could cause myself to pass out when holding my breath. And I never felt that I needed to breathe in. That would have resulted in a dead me, under water , I'm sure.

Totally daft thing to do and at the top of the leader board for needless risk without a lot of supervision. Yet they make a fuss about Oxides of Nitrogen.
 

Related to PSA - Shallow water drowning, aka shallow water blackout

1. What is shallow water drowning?

Shallow water drowning, also known as shallow water blackout, is a type of drowning that occurs in water depths of less than 4 feet. It happens when a person holds their breath for an extended period of time, causing a lack of oxygen to the brain and leading to unconsciousness and potentially death.

2. Who is at risk for shallow water drowning?

Anyone who is swimming or participating in water activities in shallow water can be at risk for shallow water drowning. However, it is more common among experienced swimmers and athletes who may push their limits and hold their breath for longer periods of time.

3. What are the symptoms of shallow water drowning?

The symptoms of shallow water drowning may include sudden unconsciousness, convulsions, and foaming at the mouth. However, in some cases, there may be no warning signs before a person becomes unconscious.

4. How can shallow water drowning be prevented?

To prevent shallow water drowning, it is important to never swim alone and always have a designated water watcher. It is also crucial to avoid breath-holding activities, stay hydrated, and take frequent breaks while swimming.

5. What should I do if I suspect someone is experiencing shallow water drowning?

If you suspect someone is experiencing shallow water drowning, it is important to remove them from the water immediately and call for emergency medical assistance. Begin CPR if the person is unresponsive and not breathing.

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