Cover Image

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

Janne H. Liisanantti, Suvi Lehtiniemi, Tero I. Ala-Kokko
  • Janne H. Liisanantti
    Division of Intensive Care Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, Oulu University Hospital, Finland |
  • Suvi Lehtiniemi
    Division of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
  • Tero I. Ala-Kokko
    Division of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland


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.


Acute drug poisoning; Extracorporeal treatment; Diagnostics; Toxicological screening

Full Text:

Submitted: 2016-09-22 12:05:46
Published: 2017-04-28 10:23:31
Search for citations in Google Scholar
Related articles: Google Scholar
Abstract views:


Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM

Copyright (c) 2017 Janne Henrik Liisanantti

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
© PAGEPress 2008-2018     -     PAGEPress is a registered trademark property of PAGEPress srl, Italy.     -     VAT: IT02125780185     •     Privacy