University of Oulu

Liisanantti, J. H., Lehtiniemi, S., & Ala-Kokko, T. I. (2017). A retrospective analysis of the impact of toxicological diagnostics on clinical decision making in cases of acute drug poisoning. Emergency Care Journal, 13(1).

A retrospective analysis of the impact of toxicological diagnostics on clinical decision making in cases of acute drug poisoning

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Author: Liisanantti, Janne H.1; Lehtiniemi, Suvi2; Ala-Kokko, Tero I.2
Organizations: 1Division of Intensive Care Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, Oulu University Hospital, Finland
2Division of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: PAGEPress, 2017
Publish Date: 2019-09-17


The outcome of acute drug poisoning is good. In only a few occasions specific treatments are needed. Toxicological screenings are recommended when acute drug poisoning is suspected. In this retrospective observational study the impact of routine screening on treatment decisions was analyzed. All patients with acute drug poisoning admitted to the emergency department of our university hospital during one year (2013) were retrospectively analyzed. The patients were categorized into two groups: those who received specific therapies due to the poisoning and those who received only symptomatic treatment. Results: there were a total of 318 cases with acute drug poisoning of which 120 led to intensive care treatment. Toxicological screening was performed in 225 cases (70.8%). The screening tests were more often taken from patients who were unconscious (89%) or had altered consciousness (79%) than from patients with normal consciousness (63%, P<0.001). The rate of specific treatment was higher among screened patients compared with patients without screening (18.7 vs 1.1%, P<0.001). However, unexpected screening results were found in 37 of the 225 screened patients out of whom only 6 cases received specific treatment. Most patients with acute drug poisoning were toxicologically screened, but every sixth had an unexpected finding. The rate of patients with unexpected screening result receiving specific treatment was low.

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Series: Emergency care journal
ISSN: 1826-9826
ISSN-E: 2282-2054
ISSN-L: 1826-9826
Volume: 13
Issue: 1
Pages: 14 - 18
DOI: 10.4081/ecj.2017.6302
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3126 Surgery, anesthesiology, intensive care, radiology
Copyright information: © Copyright J.H. Liisanantti et al., 2017 Licensee PAGEPress, Italy. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.