Gastrointestinal decontamination of the poisoned patient

Spencer Greene, Cindy Harris, Jonathan Singer
Pediatric Emergency Care 2008, 24 (3): 176-86; quiz 187-9
Gastrointestinal decontamination has been a historically accepted modality in the emergency management of oral intoxicants. Theoretically, gastric and whole-bowel emptying procedures hinder absorption, remove toxic substances, prevent clinical deterioration, and hasten recovery. This article presents a current overview of gastrointestinal decontamination. It challenges the accepted precepts of gut decontamination and assesses the utility of syrup of ipecac-induced emesis, orogastric lavage, single-dose-activated charcoal, cathartics, and whole-bowel irrigation.

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