Childhood Poisoning, A Casualty Unit Study In A Pediatric Teaching Hospital


AbstractBackground: Poisoning is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in childhood.Objective: The aim of this study is to describe the epidemiological features of acute poisoning in children less than 16 years old who were admitted to the casualty unit, to analyze various conditions and management parameters in childhood poisoning.Methods: Ninety eight cases of poisoning were admitted over a 6-month study period (2nd of May - 3rd of November 2004). Data was collected upon admission and patients were subsequently followed-up. Study was conducted in the casualty unit, in the central child teaching hospital/Baghdad, questionnaire included age and sex of patients, detailed important family history features, poison related information, clinical presentations and initial management given. All the patient's families were advised on future safety measures at home regarding the poison used.Results: Patients admitted were with the age range of 1-2years. 57% of admissions were boys with mean age of 3.07 years, while female patients were 41% with mean age of 3.98 years. Ninety four percent of poisoning was accidental, occurred indoor and the storage place of the poison was a home store or home pharmacy. Forty percent of patients ingested oral medication, while 37% ingested kerosene and the rest ingested other household products. Most patients were admitted with no complain after a history of poisoning, for observation which did not require antidotes, while vomiting was the next common presentation, gastric lavage was the next common action taken in the hospital's casualty unit. Two percent of the patients had samples taken for toxicological analysis. Thirty eight percent of patients were discharged from causality unit in good general condition, while thirty five percent were discharged on parent's responsibility. There was 3.1% fatality rate in the study period. Conclusion: Improving health education and safety measures are essential in prevention of poisoning in children. Key words: Poisoning, kerosene poisoning, Childhood poisoning, Accidental ingestions.