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Epidemiological study of acute poisoning in children: a 5-year retrospective study in the Paediatric University Hospital in Białystok, Poland
  1. Urszula Pawłowicz1,
  2. Anna Wasilewska2,
  3. Witold Olański1,
  4. Marta Stefanowicz2
  1. 1Hospital Emergency Department (HED), Paediatric University Hospital (PUH), Białystok, Poland
  2. 2Department of Pediatrics and Nephrology, Medical University of Białystok, Białystok, Poland
  1. Correspondence to Professor Anna Wasilewska, Department of Paediatrics and Nephrology, Medical University of Białystok, Waszyngtona 17, 15-274 Białystok, Poland, annwasil{at}


Background Poisoning among children and youths in the northeastern part of Poland accounted for 25% of the total number of patients admitted to the Hospital Emergency Department of the Paediatric University Hospital of Bialystok.

We hypothesise that the epidemiology of poisoned paediatric patients admitted is related to increase in ‘designer drugs’ (mainly amphetamine- and ecstasy-like psychostimulants, hallucinogens and synthetic cannabinoids (‘spice’) intake, which became popular 5 years ago in our country.

Methods A retrospective chart review of medical records of 489 patients admitted due to poisoning in the 5-year period (2006–2010). The data included: age, sex, place of residence, nature of the substance, causes of poisoning, former use of psychoactive stimulants, accompanying self-mutilation and injuries and length of hospitalisation. Categorical variables were expressed as percentages, and continuous variables as mean and SD. The data were collected in a Microsoft Excel database. Statistical analysis was performed using the Statistical Programme for Social Sciences.

Results Out of 2176 hospitalised children, 489 were admitted because of poisoning. Out of these, 244 (49.9%) were hospitalised due to intoxication by alcohol. Only eight children used designer drugs. The mean age of all patients in our group was 12.86±5.04 years, of which 52.4% were male. Poisoning was intentional in 75.5%, and accidental in 24.5% of cases. Appearance of ‘designer drugs’ had no significant impact on the number and epidemiology of poisonings in our group.

  • poisoning
  • alcohol abuse
  • drug abuse
  • paediatric emergency med
  • toxicology

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