UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Toxicology

Title: Poisonings Requiring Pediatric ICU Admission

Keywords: poisoning, overdose, pediatric, ICU (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/8/2014 by Bryan Hayes, PharmD (Emailed: 7/10/2014) (Updated: 7/10/2014)
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In a single academic medical center, 273 poisonings required Pediatric ICU (PICU) admission over a 5-year period. This represented 8% of total PICU admissions during that time. Key findings include:

  1. Most poisonings occurred in patients either ≤3 years or ≥13 years. 
  2. Most admissions were for less than 48 h and 41% were for less than 24 h. Mean PICU length of stay was 1.2 + 0.7 days.
  3. Analgesics and antidepressants were the most common substances.
  4. 27 patients received mechanical ventilation. 

The majority of poisonings were non-fatal and required supportive care, close monitoring, and some specific treatmentDrug classes causing poisonings have changed to a higher percentage of opioids in younger patients and atypical antidepressants in adolescents.


Even KM, et al. Poisonings requiring admission to the pediatric intensive care unit: A 5-year review. Clin Toxicol 2014;52(5):519-24. [PMID 24738737]

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