Methods The Nationwide Emergency Department Sample for the year 2008 was used. All pediatric ED visits (age ≤ 17 years) with external cause of injury codes for poisoning were selected for analysis. Patient-related attributes were examined. Outcomes of interest include disposition status following ED visit and ED charges.
Results A total of 180,215 ED visits among children had poisoning as an external cause of injury. More than 55.9% of these ED visits occurred among those aged ≤ 3 years. About 89.6% of all ED visits were discharged routinely, 6.8% were admitted as inpatient into the same hospital, and 3.2% were transferred to another hospital. Forty-four children died in the ED, and 23 died following inpatient admission. Close to 54% of all ED visits occurred among males, and 70.9% occurred on a weekday. About 61.4% of all ED visits comprised of those residing in areas with average household income levels < $49,000. The mean charge per ED visit was $1,033 and the ED charges for the entire United States was $155.77 million. The mean hospitalization charges for those admitted as inpatients was $11,030 and the total hospitalization charges across the entire United States was $133 million. Medicaid was the major payer covering close to 46% of all ED visits.
Conclusion High-risk groups that are likely to visit hospital based emergency departments following poisoning are identified, and the economic burden associated with treating such patients are quantified using a nationally representative sample.