Background: According to domestic studies, patients visiting the emergency departments (ED) with acute toxic exposure comprise 0.68%-5.5% of all ED patients, with various causes and motives. The purpose of this study is to investigate the clinical and social characteristics of patients with toxic exposure visiting the ED. Methods: This study spanned a period of five years, from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2013. The data were extracted using the National Emergency Department Information System (NEDIS) and The Korea Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA). Results: From the HIRA database, during the study period (2009-2013); 310,159 (2009), 289,829 (2010), 288,906 (2011), 285,514 (2012), and 279,575 (2013) patients, respectively, visited EDs with diagnoses related to exposure to toxic substances. The number of patients who presented with acute toxic exposure compared to all ED visits significantly decreased consistently (7.8%, 6.9%, 6.0%, 5.0%, 4.1%) over 5 years. Regarding the cause of toxic exposure, substances other than drugs accounted for the largest percentage, and increased annually. Acetylcysteine was the most commonly prescribed antidote, and patients in their 40s and 50s showed the most frequent visits. The monthly distribution was highest in July-September, and higher in January than in other months. Conclusion: This study found that the percentage of patients visiting the ED is decreasing, the exposure to quasi-drugs was the most common, and the exposure to antipsychotic drugs was the most frequent.
- Emergency medical services
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