Whole-bowel irrigation in cases of poisoning: A retrospective multicentre study of feasibility, tolerability, and effectiveness

Marie Deguigne, Marion Legeay, Anne-Sylvie Scholastique, Philippe Chauveau, Alexis Descatha
Australian Critical Care: Official Journal of the Confederation of Australian Critical Care Nurses 2022 April 27

BACKGROUND: Whole-bowel irrigation (WBI) is a strategy of gastrointestinal decontamination, recommended by several European and American learned societies, which may be used in the management of the poisoned patients.

OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were to describe the feasibility and tolerability of this technique and to compare the clinical outcome of a group of poisoned patients treated with WBI versus that of an untreated group.

METHODS: This was a retrospective and observational study of data recorded by the Angers Poison Control Centre (PCC) between 2012 and 2018. All cases for which the PCC advised WBI were included. The association between outcomes (clinical deterioration after WBI advised by a PCC, length of hospitalisation), WBI treatment, and relevant associated risk factors was determined using univariate and multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS: A total of 257 patients were included. One hundred forty-one patients were treated with WBI with clearly successful induction of diarrhoea in 47 cases (31%). WBI was not initiated in 89 patients. WBI was initiated but unsuccessful (no diarrhoea) in nine cases. The median age is 46 years (interquartile range: 32-55 years), with a sex ratio (M/F) of 1.3. A total of 27 of 150 patients (18%) who underwent WBI had adverse effects possibly linked to WBI, mainly vomiting (n=23). The patients with clinical deterioration (n=49) were irrigated significantly less often (95% confidence interval: 0.13-0.52; p<0.001). After adjustment for sex, age, time to implementation of WBI, type of substance ingested, and admission to intensive care, patients who were treated with WBI were less likely to deteriorate clinically than patients who were not treated with WBI (p<0.001).

CONCLUSION: Despite a low rate of completion of this procedure, WBI appeared to provide clinical benefits in patients treated in comparison of an untreated group and is associated with an acceptably low risk of direct complications.

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