General characteristics of hospitalized patients after deliberate self-poisoning and risk factors for intensive care admission

Victor Novack, Alan Jotkowitz, Jorge Delgado, Lena Novack, Gabi Elbaz, Elena Shleyfer, Leonid Barski, Avi Porath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: Deliberate self-poisoning (DSP) is recognized as a major health problem worldwide with significant morbidity. After DSP, a substantial number of patients require intensive care unit (ICU) care, but little is known about how these patients differ from patients admitted to a general medical ward. Methods: From January 2001 to December 2002, all adult patients admitted to Soroka University Hospital after DSP were identified by ICD-9 coded diagnoses. Demographic data, previous psychiatric illness, laboratory tests, medication used in the DSP, presenting syndromes, treatment, and time elapsed after ingestion until emergency department presentation were obtained retrospectively from the patients' charts. Results: Out of a total of 217 patients, 34 (15.7%) were admitted to the ICU. Their mean age was 35.9 years and 65.4% of the patients were female. In multivariate analysis, the risk factors for ICU admission were suicide attempt with an antihypertensive medication (OR = 12.2, 95% CI 2.3-65.8), coma on presentation (OR = 15.8, 95% CI 4.9-50.7), and arrival at the emergency department less than 2 h after ingestion as compared to arrival after 2 h (OR = 8.4, 95% CI 2.6-26.7). Previous psychiatric disease had no impact on ICU admission, and a recurrent attempt was protective of ICU admission. Conclusions: We have shown that ingestion of antihypertensive medication, coma upon presentation, and emergency department admission less than 2 h after ingestion are predictive of ICU admission after a deliberate overdose with medication. These variables may help emergency department physicians to identify high-risk patients more quickly and, thereby, to improve patient care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-489
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Internal Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Deliberate self-poisoning
  • Emergency care
  • Intensive care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'General characteristics of hospitalized patients after deliberate self-poisoning and risk factors for intensive care admission'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this