To evaluate the Pediatric Risk of Mortality score (PRISM score) as a tool to evaluate the vital and neurologic prognosis of patients after submersion.
We conducted a retrospective analysis of the clinical histories of patients admitted to a tertiary pediatric hospital, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, Barcelona, Spain from December 1977 to December 1999 as a consequence of near-drowning. PRISM score was calculated for each patient with data obtained upon arrival at the hospital. The probability of death was calculated using this score.
There were 60 patients, divided into two groups as they were admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU group,n= 41) or to the Short Stay Unit (SSU group,n= 19). All patients in the SSU group survived without impairments, with PRISM scores ≤8 and a probability of death of 1.3%. All PICU patients with a PRISM score ≤16 or probability of death ≤16% survived without neurologic impairment. Patients with PRISM scores ≥24 or with probability of death ≥42% either died or had serious neurologic impairment. One third of patients with PRISM scores between 17 and 23 and/or probability of death between 16 and 42% either presented serious neurologic impairment or died.
PRISM score enables the determination of either absence or presence of serious impairment or death in pediatric patients after submersion, if they present extreme values on this scale. However, in patients with intermediate PRISM scores, it is not possible to establish a reliable prognosis.