Poisoning is one of the most common reasons for visiting the emergency department in many countries, and the pattern varies from countries to countries and time to time. To compare the etiology and outcome of poisoning patients in different gender and age groups, we conducted a prospective study at the emergency departments of two medical centers in southern Taiwan between January 2001 and December 2002. All cases of poisoning, excluding patients diagnosed as cases of alcohol or food poisoning, were included, and relevant information was collected. There were 1512 cases of poisoning observed with a male to female ratio of 1:1.2 (684/828). Overall, drugs (49.9%) were the main agents involved, and a suicidal attempt (66.1%) was the predominant etiology. A total of 63 fatalities (4.2%) were observed and pesticides, especially paraquat, resulted in most fatalities. Patients aged 19-30 years constituted the most cases, and significant differences in exposure agents, causes, and fatality rates were found among different age and gender groups. The results are compatible with the trend reported by other Asian countries. This study also shows important differences existing in poisoning patients of different age and gender groups. Therefore, different poisoning-prevention strategies should be applied to different groups.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis