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Admission to an adult intensive care unit for poisoning: a review of 230 cases


Poisoning remains a serious public health problem despite regulatory interventions and medical advances.


To evaluate epidemiological features of poisoning in our adult ICU (AICU).

Patients and methods

We reviewed all patients treated for poisonings in the AICU of University Hospital in Ezurum, Turkey, between May 1997 and October 2002. A retrospective study was conducted.


Reasons for admission to the AICU were the need for ventilator treatment or invasive monitoring of vital functions. Two hundred and thirty patients (126 men [57%], 104 women [43%], mean age 34 years) were treated for poisoning in the AICU. Specific poisons have been presented in Table 1.

Table 1

Seventy-three per cent of the patients (n = 168) had attempted suicide, most of them using drugs (n = 123). Eleven patients (6.5%) died. Twenty-seven per cent of the patients (n = 62) were admitted because of accidental poisoning, most of them expected to be CO intoxications (n = 30). Eleven patients (17.7%) died. The most common cause of death was methyl alcohol poisoning (death rate 42.8%).


In adults, self-poisoning is usually deliberate (suicide or parasuicide) [1]. Although advanced life support and antidotal treatments were available, mortality was high. Concrete preventive measures are mandatory to prevent loss of life and health care resources.


  1. Ellenhorn MJ: Ellenhorn's Medical Toxicology second Edition Williams & Wilkins 1997, 5-6.

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Mehmet, K., Murat, S., Nazim, D. et al. Admission to an adult intensive care unit for poisoning: a review of 230 cases. Crit Care 7, P243 (2003).

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  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Public Health Problem
  • Life Support
  • Medical Advance
  • Regulatory Intervention