FRESH WATER DROWNING/NEAR DROWNING
If the drowning or near drowning occurs in fresh water and water enters the
lungs, that water is quickly absorbed into the blood stream. Fresh water has a lower
solute concentration than the plasma in the pulmonary capillaries; therefore, the fresh
water is absorbed across the alveolar membrane into the bloodstream.
a. Once in the bloodstream, this fresh water dilutes the blood and changes the
blood chemistry. Fresh water also affects blood cells and tissue membranes causing
hemolysis which is destruction of the blood cells.
b. The chemical change in the blood can result in cardiac dysrhythmias.
Figure 3-1. Fresh water drowning/near drowning.