On Dec. 17, 2012, the Archives of Otolaryngology –Head & Neck Surgery reported, Study Estimates Prevalence of Pediatric Caustic Ingestion Injuries. Although is has not been well documented, the prevalence of caustic ingestion injuries appears to have decreased over the years through legislative measures, which have included requiring the labeling of caustic substances such as lye. According to a new study such epidemiologic data is necessary in order to analyze the effect of legislative measures and to investigate national trends and variations to develop new prevention strategies for dealing with caustic ingestion injuries.
Mary Ann Moon has reported for IMNG Medical News on Dec. 17, 2012, Rate of pediatric caustic ingestion injuries quite low. According to the recent report in the December issue of Archives of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery the prevalence of caustic ingestion injuries among children and adolescents in the United States is quite low, and has been estimated to be only 1.08 per 100,000 population. This figure represents a substantial decrease from figures which are widely stated in the literature.
Dr. Christopher M. Johnson and Dr. Matthew T. Brigger of the department of otolaryngology, Naval Medical Center, San Diego have said, “The burden of caustic ingestion injuries in children appears to have decreased over time, and past public health interventions appear to have been successful.” These researchers assessed KID data for 2009, at which time 3,407,146 pediatric hospitalizations were sampled. Extrapolating these data to the entire U.S. population, the researchers estimated that there were 807 hospitalizations nationwide for caustic ingestion injuries among patients aged 0-18 years in 2009, or a prevalence of 1.08 per 100,000. Previously published estimates have ranged from 5,000 to 15,000 cases each year, but as noted by the investigators, were based on outdated data.
However, even though the actual prevalence of these injuries has dropped so precipitously, children with caustic ingestion injuries still accounted for greater than $22 million in hospital charges and more than 3,300 inpatient days in 2009. About 60% of these ingestions occurred in children who were aged 4 years and younger. There was a second peak in prevalence in the adolescent age group, apparently because of intentional ingestions in suicide attempts. And the researchers have said, “We found a higher burden of injury in urban hospitals and in patients who lived in zip codes in the bottom quartile of median annual income in the United States. This finding is consistent with available pediatric poisoning data that indicate that low-income urban households are more likely to store dangerous household products improperly.”