The impact of acute intoxications in a toxicological unit care in North East Italy


Retrospective study in a Toxicological Unit Care (TUC) performed to know the epidemiology of acute intoxication (AI) in Verona (Italy) during years 2008-2009. All data regarding patients with a diagnosis of certain/suspected AI were collected and evaluated: some demographic information, the characteristics of the agent involved, the pattern of exposure, the triage at the admission to TUC and the outcome. 244 cases were analyzed: 45.9% males and 54.9% females, mean age respectively 45.1 and 43.9 years. The monthly distribution of admitted patients resulted fairly constant, except from a light rising prevalence in autumn, with a majority of yellow (45.9%) and green (43.4%) triage code. The pattern of exposure resulted: ingestion (82.7% of cases; age peaks: 18-34 and 35-51 years old; mostly due to food (as mushrooms), drinks, detergents, soap, pharmaceutical, drugs of abuse, caustics substances), contact (10.2% of cases; age peak 18-51) and inhalation (6.9% of cases). In 17.2% of cases the poisoning exposure was intentional. In 63.5% the patients were sent to their general practitioners (45.5% of the yellow and 81.1% of the green coded patients) and in 22.1% of cases they were admitted to clinical rooms (44.6% of the yellow coded patients). In most cases the triage code assigned to the studied patients resulted yellow and green. Considering that the seriousness of the symptoms can appear after several hours from the exposure to toxic substances, a quick and specific intervention to obtain the best therapeutical effectiveness is suitable, in order to save lives or to avoid irremediable health damages.