Introduction to Toxicology
The primary aim in the treatment of poisoned patients is to reduce mortality and early and late morbidity.
The secondary aim of treatment is to reduce hospital stay and use hospital resources in an efficient manner.
Having said this we all need to be aware that in cases of deliberate self-poisoning, the acute toxicological problem is not the disease, rather it is the presentation of an individual who has significant underlying psychological, social or medical distress. Every patient needs an attempt to define and address these issues.
These notes are designed to introduce the assessment and treatment of poisonings. They contain specific toxin related information as well as background information, which can be accessed by hyperlinks throughout the text.
The first priority in the assessment of patients is to ascertain the adequacy of their:
- Breathing - ventilation
The subsequent management is determined by the risk to the patient from the poisoning. This can only be judged accurately if core information about the toxin, the exposure, and the patient is obtained.
The video below provides an overview of patient assessment and management