Is rigid endoscopy necessary with childhood corrosive ingestion? a retrospective comparative analysis of 458 cases

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The aim of this study was to determine the necessity of endoscopy in cases in which a corrosive substance was ingested and to find a practical way to avoid unnecessary endoscopies for similar cases in the future. The clinical records of 458 hospitalized cases with clinical histories of corrosive substance ingestion between January 2007 and December 2013 were retrospectively reviewed. The demographics of the cases, the ingested substances, and the rigid endoscopy findings were evaluated. The three most commonly ingested corrosive agents were household bleach (22.9%), household degreaser (15.9%), and drain cleaner (13.1%). Rigid esophagoscopy was performed in 367 of the 458 cases. Corrosive agents were grouped according to their purpose of household use; eight groups were created. The degree of corrosive injury observed in the different groups was compared with the degree of injury caused by household bleach. Among the corrosive agent groups, dishwashing machine products (Gr.1), laundry products (Gr.2), liquid cleaners (Gr.3), and household bleach (Gr.4) did not cause high-grade injuries. The resulting injuries and esophagoscopy results among the above groups, whether symptomatic or not, did not differ from one another. Corrosive agents such as drain cleaner (Gr.6), household degreaser (Gr.7), and several other acidic products (Gr.8) caused high-grade injuries in the esophagus; however, lime remover/HCl (Gr.5) did not. Thus, hospitalization and rigid endoscopy seem unnecessary to assess esophageal injury in most cases, if the ingested corrosive agent fits into group 1, 2, 3, or 4 and if the patient can be easily fed. Esophagoscopy is useful to shorten the hospitalization times in cases where strong corrosive agents were ingested, such as those in groups 5, 6, 7, and 8.

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