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Johnson AR, Tak CR, Anderson K, Dahl B, Smith C, Crouch BI. Am. J. Emerg. Med. 2019; ePub(ePub): ePub.


Utah Poison Control Center, 2000 E 30 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, United States of America; Department of Pharmacotherapy, University of Utah, 2000 E 30 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, United States of America. Electronic address:


(Copyright © 2019, Elsevier Publishing)






INTRODUCTION: Poison control centers (PCC) are an effective means to prevent unnecessary emergency department (ED) visits associated with poisoning exposures. However, not all patients with poison exposures utilize the PCC. The purpose of this study was to identify unintentional pediatric poisoning exposures presenting to a large US children's hospital that could have been managed onsite (i.e., at home) if consultation with a PCC had occurred prior to the ED visit.

METHODS: Using ED encounters from a tertiary children's hospital, unintentional pharmaceutical, chemical, or fume exposures occurring between October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015 were identified from ICD-9-CM billing codes. Two specialists in poison information reviewed the medical records of the identified patients who had no contact with the PCC and determined whether these encounters were preventable through PCC triage. Descriptive statistics examined the differences between the encounters. Data were analyzed in R v3.2.4 (Vienna, Austria) and SAS v9.4 (SAS Institute, Cary, NC).

RESULTS: In the total study population (n = 231), 98 (42.4%) were PCC triaged and 133 (57.6%) were caregiver self-referred to the ED. For those who self-referred, 62 (46.6%) patients would have been recommended to be managed onsite instead of presenting at the ED for medical care. Analgesics and household cleaning products were the most common pharmaceutical and chemical exposures, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Nearly half of ED visits for pediatric patients with unintentional poisoning exposures could have been avoided by contacting a PCC. Educational and self-efficacy-based interventions are needed to expand the public's use of PCC services.

Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Language: en


Emergency department; Pediatric; Poison control centers; Poisoning; Prevention; Triage


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