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Paediatric poisoning presentations reported to a regional toxicology service in Australia.

Authors
  • Downes, Michael A1, 2
  • Lovett, Caitlyn J1, 3
  • Isbister, Geoffrey K1, 2
  • 1 Department of Clinical Toxicology, Calvary Mater Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 2 Clinical Toxicology Research Group, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 3 Emergency Department, John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. , (Australia)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2021
Volume
57
Issue
7
Pages
1049–1053
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/jpc.15387
PMID: 33586836
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The aim of this study is to describe the epidemiology and health-care utilisation of paediatric emergency department (ED) presentations due to poisoning. A retrospective review of all ED presentations of paediatric poisoning cases (<18 years) reported to a tertiary toxicology service from 2015 to 2016 was conducted. Cases were classified into three age groups: pre-school (0-6 years), primary school (7-11 years) and adolescent (12-17 years). Outcomes included patient transfer, length of ED stay (LOS) and proportion admitted to a medical ward, mental health unit or intensive care unit (ICU). From 764 consultations over a 2-year period, 87 were excluded as non-ED presentations. From these, there were 194 (29%; 47% female) pre-school aged, 34 (5%; 41% female) primary school aged and 449 (66%; 77% female) adolescent presentations. Deliberate self-poisoning was most common in 394 of 449 (88%) adolescents. Accidental exposures accounted for 159 (82%) of pre-school presentations and natural toxins occurred in all three age groups. Paracetamol, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, antipsychotics and ibuprofen were the most common toxins. Discharge from ED occurred in 147 of 194 (76%) pre-school, 24 of 34 (71%) primary school and 223 of 449 (50%) adolescent presentations. Of the 449 adolescents, 137 (31%) were admitted medically (median LOS 19.9 h), 19 were admitted to ICU (median LOS 71 h) and 70 (16%) admitted to mental health (median LOS 122 h). Five pre-school aged children were admitted to ICU. Adolescent deliberate self-poisoning has a significant impact on hospital resources, with mental health problems requiring extended length of stay. There were fewer pre-school accidental poisoning consultations, which were mainly discharged from ED. © 2021 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (The Royal Australasian College of Physicians).

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