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Gastric Lavage – an audit of current UK practice [Abstract]

Dyas, J., Krishna, Channarayapatna, Aldridge, G. L. and Thompson, John Paul 2010. Gastric Lavage – an audit of current UK practice [Abstract]. Clinical Toxicology 48 (6) , pp. 646-647. 10.3109/15563650.2010.493290

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Background: Gastric Lavage (GL) has been used for over 200 years as a form of gastro-intestinal decontamination following ingestion of poisons and much has been written on its efficacy and safety. Does it still have a role to play in modern emergency medicine? This study was undertaken as an audit of current practice and belief regarding GL in UK hospitals. Methods: A questionnaire was sent to all UK hospitals and those having Accident and Emergency departments were invited to respond. Six standard questions and a free-text box for comments sought to establish whether departments believed they had appropriate equipment available to perform GL, whether adequately skilled personnel were available on a 24/7 basis, how often GL was performed in their department, when was the last time it took place and finally, have they encountered any adverse events that were attributed to GL? Results: Of 362 questionnaires sent, 183 (50%) replies were received. Of the responders, 91 (50%) stated that their department did not have the necessary equipment readily available to perform GL. Seventy (38%) said they did not have skilled personnel available at any time and a further 53 (29%) hospitals did not have these personnel available 24/7. One hundred and sixtynine (95%) departments responding have never or rarely performed GL, only five departments were doing GL once a year and a further three peformed it once a month. Forty-three departments stated that GL had not been performed for at least 5 years, only 27 GL’s have been performed in the UK within the last 5 years, 19 of these within the last year and only two within the last month of the survey. Adverse events reported included trauma in two cases and death in one patient as a result of tension pneumothorax. Conclusion: From this audit it is clear that gastric lavage is rarely used in managing patients with overdose in modern emergency medicine and consequently a significant proportion of emergency departments no longer maintain adequate equipment or have staff with the necessary skills available on a 24/7 basis. Poisons Centres may need to take into account the availability of skilled staff and equipment when providing management advice on poisoning.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1556-3650
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2021 01:16

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