Hong Kong Med J 2012;18:270–5 | Number 4, August 2012
Dettol poisoning and the need for airway intervention
PK Lam, CK Chan, ML Tse, FL Lau
Accident and Emergency Department, Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, Chai Wan, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVES. To (1) characterise the clinical features of Dettol poisoning on a territory-wide basis, (2) assess the need for airway intervention after such poisoning and its time frame after ingestion, and (3) identify predictors for such an intervention.
DESIGN. Case series.
SETTING. Sixteen accident and emergency departments in Hong Kong.
PATIENTS. Patients with Dettol ingestion who presented within 48 hours of ingestion from July 2005 to June 2009, derived from the database of the Hong Kong Poison Information Centre.
RESULTS. In all, 213 patient records were identified, of which 36 were excluded based on pre-defined criteria and 177 were analysed. Among the latter, the median age was 32 (range, 2-95) years and the male-to-female ratio was 1:2.7 (48:129). Intentional ingestion constituted the majority (95%) of cases. The most common symptoms were related to the local irritative/corrosive effects on the aero-digestive tract, such as gastro-intestinal upset and localised throat pain. Airway intervention was required in 14 (8%) patients. All interventions were performed within 12 hours of Dettol ingestion and three cases involved re-intubation after extubation. Univariate analysis showed that a Glasgow Coma Scale score of
CONCLUSIONS. Delayed airway obstruction (>12 hours after Dettol ingestion) is unlikely. For those who are intubated, careful assessment of airway adequacy before extubation is strongly recommended to avoid extubation failure and subsequent re-intubation. Patients in coma (Glasgow Coma Scale score of
Key words: Chloroxylenol; Disinfectants/poisoning; Intubation, intratracheal; Risk factors
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