Background: Drowning is a heavy burden on the health systems of many countries, including Pakistan. To date, no effective large-scale surveillance has been in place to estimate rates of drowning and near-drowning in Pakistan. The Pakistan National Emergency Department Surveillance (Pak-NEDS) study aimed to fill this gap. Methods: Patients who presented with a complaint of "near-drowning" were analyzed to explore patterns of true near-drowning (unintentional) and intentional injuries that led to the "near-drowning" complaint. Bivariate analysis was done to establish patterns among patients treated in emergency departments, including socio-demographic information, injury-related information, accompanying injuries, and emergency department resource utilization. Results: A total of 133 patients (0.2% of all injury patients) with "near-drowning" as presenting complaints were recorded by the Pak-NEDS system. True near-drowning (50.0%) and intentional injuries that led to "near-drowning" complaints (50.0%) differed in nature of injuries. The highest proportion of true near-drowning incidents occurred among patients aged between 25-44 years (47.5%), and among males (77.5%). True near-drowning patients usually had other accompanying complaints, such as lower limb injury (40.0%). Very few patients were transported by ambulance (5.0%), and triage was done for 15% of patients. Eleven (27.5%) true near-drowning patients received cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Conclusion: There was major under-reporting of drowning and near-drowning cases in the surveillance study. The etiology of near-drowning cases should be further studied. Patients who experienced non-fatal drownings were more commonly sent for medical care due to other accompanying conditions, rather than near-drowning event itself. There is also need for recognizing true near-drowning incidents. The results of this study provide information on data source selection, site location, emergency care standardization, and multi-sector collaboration for future drowning prevention studies.
- Emergency care management