Poisoned child: emergency room management

Suresh Gupta, Vikas Taneja
Indian Journal of Pediatrics 2003, 70 Suppl 1: S2-8
Poisoning is one of the commonest pediatric emergencies. Most of poisonings in children below 5 years of age, are accidental and fortunately trivial, related to their exploratory nature. However a poisoned child may present as an acute emergency with or without multisystem involvement. The initial phase of management focuses on support of airways, breathing and cardiac function (ABCD of Resuscitation). The second phase includes Evaluation and Detoxification phase. The Evaluation phase involves identification and severity of toxic exposure. Recognizing a Toxidrome (constellation of the signs and symptoms seen with the ingestion of a particular poison) is particularly very helpful when the child presents with an unknown poisoning. Detoxification should proceed simultaneously. The current literature suggests that activated charcoal is the mainstay of GI decontarmination. Whole bowel Irrigation is a new addition to the armamentarium of GI decontamination. At present antidotes are available for few toxins only so the management remains supportive for most poisons.

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