Author(s): Kay M, Wyllie R
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Abstract PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The purpose of this review is to outline the current epidemiology, mechanism of injury, clinical manifestations, management and long-term complications of caustic ingestions in pediatric patients. RECENT FINDINGS: Recent data suggest that more than 200 000 exposures to household or industrial cleaning products occur annually in the United States. It is difficult to determine what fraction of these exposures represents caustic ingestions. Caustic ingestions occur most commonly in children less than age 6 years. Because of the accidental nature of the ingestions, the case fatality rate for pediatric patients is significantly less than that of adolescents and adults. Despite laws to limit the concentration of household cleaning products, farm and industrial products and products stored in nonoriginal containers represent a significant source of caustic agents. Endoscopy remains the preferred method of staging injury. In children the absence of symptoms does not predict lack of relevant injury. However, the presence of three or more symptoms is associated with a high likelihood of significant injury. Long-term complications in pediatric patients may be severe and include esophageal cancer. SUMMARY: Caustic ingestions remain a significant cause of pediatric morbidity in the United States and abroad. Endoscopy is the primary method of staging injury following a caustic ingestion. Extent of injury at initial evaluation remains the best predictor of morbidity and mortality in pediatric patients following an accidental caustic ingestion.
This article was published in Curr Opin Pediatr
and referenced in Health Care : Current Reviews