Author(s): Merigian KS, Woodard M, Hedges JR, Roberts JR, Stuebing R,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract The authors prospectively studied the effect of gastric emptying (GE) and activated charcoal (AC) upon clinical outcome in acutely self-poisoned patients. Presumed overdose patients (n = 808) were treated using an alternate day protocol based on a 10-question cognitive function examination and presenting vital sign parameters. Asymptomatic patients (n = 451) did not receive GE. AC was administered to asymptomatic patients only on even days. GE in the remaining symptomatic patients (n = 357) was performed only on even days. On emptying days, alert patients had ipecac-induced emesis while obtunded patients received gastric lavage. AC therapy followed gastric emptying. On nonemptying days, symptomatic patients were treated only with AC. No clinical deterioration occurred in the asymptomatic patients treated without GE. AC use did not alter outcome measures in asymptomatic patients. GE procedures in symptomatic patients did not significantly alter the length of stay in the emergency department, mean length of time intubated, or mean length of stay in the intensive care unit. Gastric lavage was associated with a higher prevalence of medical intensive care unit admissions (P = .0001) and aspiration pneumonia (P = .0001). The data support the management of selected acute overdose patients without GE and fail to show a benefit from AC in asymptomatic overdose patients.
This article was published in Am J Emerg Med
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology