Intensive care admissions due to poisoning

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2017 Nov;61(10):1296-1304. doi: 10.1111/aas.13005.


Background: Poisoning represents a significant part of admissions to intensive care units. The aim of this nationwide study was to describe recent national quality register data of demographics and mortality for these patients.

Method: A retrospective national observational study including all patients over 19 years admitted to an ICU in Sweden, between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2011, with an ICD-10 code for poisoning. The data were collected from three national registers (The Swedish Intensive Care Register, The National Patient Register, and The Cause of Death Register).

Results: The incidence of ICU-treated poisonings was 43/100,000. Twenty-one per cent (n = 8155) of all poisoned patients seeking medical care were admitted to the ICU. Their median age was 38 years (q1-q3: 26-51), as many men as women and 46.5% (n = 3790) had a previous registered poisoning. A mix of different substances was the most common type of suspected poisoning (29.7%, n = 2424). The in-hospital mortality was 1.9% and was correlated to invasive mechanical ventilation (OR 6.91 CI 95% 4.59-10.42), age > 40 (OR 4.54 CI 95% 2.86-7.21) and no previous hospitalisation for poisoning (OR 3.23 CI 95% 2.06-5.07). For 78.3% (n = 119) of the deceased patients, the fatal poisoning was their first diagnosed poisoning. The 30-day mortality was 2.7%, a majority died from poisoning (P < 0.01).

Conclusion: In Sweden, patients treated in the ICU due to poisoning represent a fifth of all poisoned patients seeking medical care. Older men with no previous poisoning were considered a high-risk group.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Admission
  • Poisoning / epidemiology
  • Poisoning / mortality*
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Sweden / epidemiology