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Poisoning in children: Experience at a tertiary care hospital in Mangalore

S G Sowmya, K Shreedhara Avabratha, Aby Dany Varghese, B Sanjeeva Rai.


Background: Acute poisoning in children is a major preventable cause of morbidity and mortality. The accessibility of different poisonous substances also depends upon demography, social beliefs and customs, education, economic status of family as well as the ease of availability.

Aims & Objectives: This retrospective study analyses the clinical profile of poisoning patients admitted in Fr. Muller Medical College Hospital Mangalore.

Materials and Methods: Hospital records of all children < 15 years, admitted with a diagnosis of acute poisoning between January 2010 and July 2012 were included. Patients with poisonous bites and stings were excluded. The results were analysed statistically by percentage, Fischer exact test (p value).

Results: A total of 56 children were included. Types of poisoning: kerosene (21.4%), rat poison (16.07%), organophosphorous Poison (7.14%), pyrethroids (12.5%), others (37.5%) which included medications and fertilizers and unknown substances in 5.35%. Kerosene poisoning was more common in < 1 year whereas rat poison was between 1 and 5 year of age. There was no significant difference between the sexes in relation to type of poisoning except for kerosene poisoning which was significantly higher in males. Though majority was accidental, 5 cases involving adolescents were suicidal. Vomiting, drowsiness, unconsciousness, pain abdomen, convulsions, and shock were the presenting symptoms. Antidotes were available only in 4 cases. 55 cases survived and one patient succumbed (Zinc Phosphide).

Conclusion: The study highlights the pattern of poisoning in this area. Increasing the awareness and proper preventive measures go a long way in decreasing poisoning in children.

Key words: Poisoning; Children; Vomiting; Drowsiness; Kerosene

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