05 Jan 2021
Prehospital and disaster medicine; - :
INTRODUCTION: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic influences health care facilities world-wide. The flow rate, type, and severity of cases presented to emergency departments varied during the pandemic in comparison to the past years. However, this change has not been well-described among the cases of hospital admission due to toxic exposure. STUDY OBJECTIVE: Recognition of the pattern of toxic exposure among the cases refereed to Tanta Poison Control Center (TPCC; Tanta, Egypt) during the past five years, and furthermore, exploration of the impact of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic on the pattern of presented cases. METHODS: The current study is a five-year retrospective, comparative cross-sectional study carried out among acutely intoxicated patients admitted to TPCC during the spring months (March through May) of 2016-2020. A total of 1,916 patients with complete medical records were recruited. The type and manner of toxic exposure, demographic, clinical data, and outcomes were analyzed. RESULTS: The current study noted that there were delays in time from toxic exposure to emergency services during the lockdown period. This was reflected in significant lower recovery rates (884.8/1,000 population; z = -3.0) and higher death rates (49.4/1,000 population; z = 2.1) despite the marked decrease in the total number of hospital admissions in comparison to the past four years. The lockdown period showed significantly higher phosphides (z = 3.5; χ2 = 34.295; P <.001) and antipsychotics exposure (z = 3.6; χ2 = 21.494; P <.001) than the previous years. However, predominance of female exposure and intentional self-poisoning was maintained over the past five years, including the lockdown. CONCLUSION: COVID-19-associated lockdown greatly reformed the usual intoxication pattern of the cases admitted to emergency room. Also, it played a role in delaying time of hospital arrival, which was reflected as lower recovery rates and higher death rates.