Author(s): LoVecchio F, Blackwell S, Stevens D
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The outcome after chlorine exposures has been poorly described. METHODS: We conducted a 5-year retrospective poison control center review of chlorine exposure cases. The inclusion criteria were self (or surrogate) reported concentrated 'chlorine' liquid (> or =10\% concentration of sodium hypochorite) or tablet (> or =90\% concentration) exposure. Two reviewers blinded to the main purpose of the study reviewed charts and a third reviewed 10\% of the charts, and a kappa score was calculated. Parameters reviewed included the type of exposure (tablets, liquid or both), symptoms (cough, chest pain, etc.), time to symptom onset, treatment received, hospital referral rate and outcomes. RESULTS: A total of 598 patient records were reviewed, with a mean age of 29.63 years (range 11-82); 41.5\% (248) were exposures to tablets and 53.5\% (320) were exposed to liquid chlorine, with the remainder exposed to both. Complaints included shortness of breath, eye irritation, nasal complaints, cough, and skin complaints. Sixty-nine patients were evaluated at a healthcare facility (11 referred by a poison control center and 58 were self-referrals). Five patients were admitted and four out of the five had a history of reactive airway disease. The mean time to peak symptoms was 94.4 min, 63.2\% reached peak symptoms within 30 min, and 82\% within 120 min, with 74\% of all patients asymptomatic within 150 min. All five admitted patients were discharged within 48 h, and all others remained clinically well at a 24 h telephone follow-up. CONCLUSION: Exposure to chlorine tablets and liquid rarely requires hospital referral with almost all symptoms resolving within 24 h.
This article was published in Eur J Emerg Med
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology