Profile and outcome of patients with acute toxicity admitted in intensive care unit: Experiences from a major corporate hospital in urban India

Indian J Anaesth. 2011 Jul;55(4):370-4. doi: 10.4103/0019-5049.84860.


Background and aim: There is scarcity of data from the Indian subcontinent regarding the profile and outcome of patients presenting with acute poisoning admitted to intensive care units (ICU). We undertook this retrospective analysis to assess the course and outcome of such patients admitted in an ICU of a tertiary care private hospital.

Methods: We analyzed data from 138 patients admitted to ICU with acute poisoning between July 2006 and March 2009. Data regarding type of poisoning, time of presentation, reason for ICU admission, ICU course and outcome were obtained.

Results: Seventy (50.7%) patients were males and majority (47.8%) of admissions were from age group 21 to 30 years. The most common agents were benzodiazepines, 41/138 (29.7%), followed by alcohol, 34/138 (24.63%) and opioids, 10/138 (7.2%). Thirty-two (23%) consumed two or more agents. Commonest mode of toxicity was suicidal (78.3%) and the route of exposure was mainly oral (97.8%). The highest incidence of toxicity was due to drugs (46.3%) followed by household agents (13%). Organ failure was present in 67 patients (48.5%). During their ICU course, dialysis was required in four, inotropic support in 14 and ventilator support in 13 patients. ICU mortality was 3/138 (2.8%). All deaths were due to aluminium phosphide poisoning.

Conclusions: The present data give an insight into epidemiology of poisoning and represents a trend in urban India. The spectrum differs as we cater to urban middle and upper class. There is an increasing variety and complexity of toxins, with substance abuse attributing to significant number of cases.

Keywords: Acute poisoning; intensive care unit; toxicology.