Pediatr Emerg Care. 2023 Sep 5. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000003041. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: Poisonings constitute an important part of preventable morbidity and mortality in pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) and hospitalizations. However, information on poisoning requiring intensive care is limited. This study aimed epidemiological evaluation of poisoning cases treated in the PICU in a single center.
METHODS: The records of 504 patients admitted to the PICU due to acute poisoning between 2010 and 2022 were retrospectively reviewed. Data were evaluated using descriptive methods and the χ2 test, and statistical differences with P value <0.05 were considered significant.
RESULTS: The age range of the patients ranged from 1 month to 216 months (18 years), and the rate of girls was 53.2% (n = 268), whereas the rate of boys was 46.8% (n = 236). The mean age was 4.4 ± 4.3 years for boys, 6.7 ± 5.8 years for girls, and 5.6 ± 5.3 years for all patients. It was determined that 79.6% of the cases were poisoned by accident and 20.4% by suicide. A total of 76.7% of the patients who were poisoned for suicide were girls and 23.3% were boys. The mean age of these patients was 14.3 ± 3.0 years. On the other hand, 47.1% of the children who were accidentally poisoned were girls and 52.9% were boys, and the mean age of these children was 3.4 ± 2.9 years. Although 79.9% of poisonings occurred at home, the causative agent was oral poisoning in 97.4% of the cases. Approximately two thirds (69.2%) of the cases were drug-related, whereas 30.8% were related to nondrug substances. In drug-related poisonings, central nervous system drugs (35.8%) were the most common agent, followed by analgesic/antipyretic (20.9%) agents, whereas among the nonpharmaceutical factors, insecticides (agricultural pesticides, rat poison, pesticides, etc) were the most common, followed by poisonous herbs (beetleweed, widow’s weed, cannabis, etc). The mean admission time of the patients to the hospital was 6.3 ± 8.4 hours, and the mean length of stay in the intensive care unit was 1.6 ± 1.3 days. In the 12 years of our study, only 3 patients died due to poisoning, and our mortality rate was 0.5%. Four patients (0.7%) were referred to the Alcohol and Drug Addicts Treatment and Research Center.
CONCLUSIONS: In this study, in which we retrospectively analyzed the profiles of poisoning cases hospitalized in the PICU for 12 years, we determined that poisonous weeds were the major factor in accidental poisonings, and suicidal poisonings were above the expected rates even at the young age group such as 8-12 years old. These results show the importance of determining the poisoning profile of the health care service area.