Author(s): Mintegi S, Fernndez A, Alustiza J, Canduela V, Mongil I,
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: To describe the characteristics of childhood poisoning leading to consultation to 17 pediatric emergency departments in Spain. METHODS: During a 2-year period (January 2001 to December 2002), accompanying people of 2157 children with acute intoxication who visited consecutively at the emergency room were prospectively surveyed. RESULTS: Childhood poisoning accounted for 0.28\% of all emergency visits during the study period. The median (interquartile range, 25th-75th percentile) age was 24 months (22-60 months); 67\% of children were younger than 4 years. Drug ingestion was involved in 54.7\% of cases (paracetamol was the most frequent drug), domestic products in 28.9\%, alcohol in 5.9\%, carbon monoxide in 4.5\%, and illicit drugs in 1.5\%. A total of 61.3\% of patients were admitted within 1 hour after exposure to the toxic substance, and 10.3\% had been already treated before arrival; 29.1\% of patients were referred for clinical manifestations which were mostly neurological symptoms. Laboratory tests and other investigations were performed in 40.7\% of cases. Gastrointestinal decontamination was used in 51.7\% of patients, with activated charcoal in 32.3\%. Treatment varied significantly according to the individual hospitals. A total of 83.3\% of patients were treated as outpatients, 15.2\% were hospitalized, and 1.5\% were admitted to the intensive care unit. One 11-month-old boy with carbon monoxide intoxication died. Six patients had permanent sequelae (esophageal stenosis in 5 and partial blindness in 1). CONCLUSIONS: Young children who accidentally ingested drugs and, less frequently, domestic products accounted for most cases of intoxication who presented at the pediatric emergency department.
This article was published in Pediatr Emerg Care
and referenced in Pediatrics & Therapeutics