The epidemiology and management of adult poisonings admitted to the short-stay ward of a large Scottish emergency department

Alison Isabel Cameron Teo, J G Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The emergency department of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary receives around 68,000 new adult admissions annually. All poisoning cases are admitted to a 14-bedded short-stay ward, except those admitted to intensive care or immediately discharged. This study aimed to analyse epidemiological trends and management of short-stay ward admissions for poisonings.

METHOD AND RESULTS: Adult (>13 years) poisoning presentations admitted to the emergency department short-stay ward of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary from 1 January-31 December 2009 were retrospectively reviewed using patient discharge summaries. During 2009, there were 1062 poisoning cases, of which repeat episodes were responsible for 15%. The mean age of presentation was 33.9 years (SD 14.4) and there was a female preponderance (62%). Almost half of poisonings were polypharmacy, alcohol was involved in 40% of cases and overdoses most commonly involved paracetamol (43%). Management involved basic observations only (66%), N-acetylcysteine (24%), naloxone (4%) and activated charcoal (1%). Liaison psychiatry reviewed 84% presentations and admitted 9% to the psychiatric unit.

CONCLUSIONS: The short-stay ward is important for acute management of poisonings and the data gained from this study should help to direct patient services appropriately.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-153
Number of pages5
JournalScottish Medical Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


  • acetaminophen
  • acetylcysteine
  • adolescent
  • adult
  • aged
  • aged, 80 and over
  • analgesics, non-narcotic
  • antidotes
  • central nervous system depressants
  • charcoal
  • drug overdose
  • emergency service, hospital
  • ethanol
  • female
  • follow-up studies
  • free radical scavengers
  • hospitalization
  • humans
  • length of stay
  • male
  • mental disorders
  • middle aged
  • naloxone
  • narcotic antagonists
  • patient admission
  • patient discharge
  • public health
  • retrospective studies
  • Scotland
  • self-Injurious Behavior
  • poisonings
  • overdose
  • self-harm
  • paracetemol
  • alcohol


Dive into the research topics of 'The epidemiology and management of adult poisonings admitted to the short-stay ward of a large Scottish emergency department'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this