Admission to a pediatric intensive care unit for poisoning: a review of 105 cases

Crit Care Med. 1989 Aug;17(8):748-50. doi: 10.1097/00003246-198908000-00005.


We reviewed all patients treated for intoxication in the pediatric ICU (PICU) of the Sainte-Justine Hospital over a 3-yr period. Poisoning (105 patients) constituted 3.1% of PICU admissions. Most involved children less than 3 (42%) yr or greater than 12 (33%) yr. Products most commonly ingested included tricyclic antidepressants (22%), benzodiazepines (15%), theophylline (10%), ethanol (10%), hallucinogens (8%), salicylates (8%), narcotics (8%), antihistamines (7%), and carbamazepine (5%). Three children became comatose after ingesting about 1 g of hashish. Multiple drug ingestions were frequent (22%), particularly in suicide attempts (11/23). Treatment was, in general, interventionist and nonspecific; aggressive measures for poisoning were required in only two patients who were hemodialyzed. Two patients stayed in the PICU greater than 2 days. All patients survived with no sequelae, except for one patient who required an intestinal resection. Poisoning in children is a common occurrence leading to PICU admission; however, the medical prognosis is usually excellent.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Critical Care
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric*
  • Medical Records
  • Poisoning / epidemiology*
  • Poisoning / therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Quebec
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Suicide, Attempted