Incidence and characteristics of bath-related accidents

Masaru Suzuki, Takuro Shimbo, Toshiharu Ikaga, Shingo Hori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective Bath-related sudden cardiac arrests frequently occur in Japan. This study aimed to describe the actual incidence and characteristics of bath-related accidents, including non-fatal events, and to establish the etiology of bath-related sudden cardiac arrest. Methods This prospective cross-sectional observational study was conducted in Tokyo Metropolis and Saga and Yamagata Prefectures between October 2012 and March 2013. Emergency personnel enrolled events in this study when they recognized that activation of the emergency medical system was related to bathing. Surveillance cards were delivered and collected from the emergency personnel and attending physicians. Results In total, 4,593 events were enrolled (1,528 cardiac arrests, 935 survivors in need of help, 1,553 patients with acute illnesses, and 577 patients with injuries) in this study. In the group of survivors in need of help and with acute illness, consciousness disturbance and lethargy without any organic disease were recognized as the main symptoms. Acute coronary syndrome and stroke were infrequently diagnosed. Of the survivors, 30% had a body temperature above 38°C. Their consciousness level significantly correlated with their body temperature. Emergency personnel reported that 79% of sudden cardiac arrests were from victims whose faces were submerged in the tub water, while 18% of survivors had their faces submerged in the tub water. Conclusion This study revealed that accidents, including non-lethal events, frequently occur. The key symptoms were consciousness disturbance and lethargy characterized as a functional disorder and accompanied by an elevated body temperature. Those findings suggest that heat illness during hot water immersion causes drowning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalInternal Medicine
Volume58
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1

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Keywords

  • Bath
  • Drowning
  • Heat illness
  • Hot water immersion
  • Sudden death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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