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Reducing mortality in near-hanging patients with a novel early management protocol

Muralitharan Tharmarajah, Hamza Ijaz, Mimi Vallabhai, Narendra Nath Jena, Maxine LeSaux, Jeffrey P Smith, Chen Chen, Yan Ma, Katherine A Douglass, Andrew C Meltzer
American Journal of Emergency Medicine 2018, 36 (11): 2050-2053

BACKGROUND: Hanging is one of the most common causes of suicide world-wide, more prevalent in developing countries. There are no established protocols for early management of near-hanging patients who present to the emergency department (ED). The use of early intubation, strict blood pressure control and targeted temperature management has shown promise in small studies.

OBJECTIVE: To detect changes in mortality and neurological deficits in near-hanging patients before and after implementation of a novel early management protocol in a tertiary care hospital in India.

METHODS: Prospective cohort study conducted at a tertiary-care hospital in Tamil Nadu, India from August 2014-July 2016. For first year of study (pre-implementation), near-hanging patients were treated without a structured protocol. For second year of study (post-implementation), near-hanging patients were treated per a protocol including early intubation, strict blood pressure control and targeted temperature management. Primary outcomes included: (1) in-hospital mortality and (2) hospital discharge without neurological deficit.

RESULTS: 65 patients were included (27 in the pre-implementation phase and 38 in the post-implementation phase.) At presentation, there was no difference between the two groups in mean heart rate, mean arterial pressure, mean oxygen saturation, Glasgow coma score, or mean respiratory rate. Protocol implementation decreased mortality (10/27 (37%) versus 2/38 (5%), P < 0.05) and increased the number of patients discharged without neurological deficit (10/27 (37%) versus 35/38 (92%), P < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: This novel early management protocol reduced mortality and increased the number discharged without neurological deficit in near-hanging patients in a single tertiary care center in India.


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