UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Patterns in poisoning hospitalizations and deaths in British Columbia, 2008 to 2013 Jiang, Andy; Smith, Jennifer; Rajabali, Fahra; Zheng, Alex; Purssell, Roy; Pike, Ian


Background: Poisoning is a leading cause of hospitalization and death in British Columbia, yet patterns for allcause poisonings remain unclear. A study was proposed to analyze morbidity and mortality for all causes of poisoning in order to investigate patterns and trends associated with intent, age, sex, health service delivery area, and cause. Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on morbidity and mortality data obtained from the BC Discharge Abstract Database and BC Vital Statistics for 2008 to 2013. Cases with poisoning as the primary cause of hospitalization or death were identified by ICD-10 codes and classifications for drugs and other substances, which included antiepileptic, sedative-hypnotic, antiparkinsonism, and psychotropic drugs; narcotics and psychodysleptics; gases and vapors; and nonopioid analgesics, antipyretics, and antirheumatics. Once data were collected, descriptive statistics were generated. Separate multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to investigate factors influencing the odds of the following events occurring: hospitalization or death from poisoning rather than from other external causes; hospitalization or death from self-harm poisoning rather than from poisonings involving other intents; deaths from poisoning rather than hospitalizations from poisoning. Results: Unintentional poisoning hospitalizations and deaths in BC increased significantly during the study period. Males accounted for a majority of poisoning deaths (66%), while females accounted for a majority of poisoning hospitalizations (59%). Poisoning rates tended to be higher in less urban health service delivery areas. Causes of poisoning resulting in hospitalizations and deaths differed, as did intent. Age, sex, and calendar year were significant predictors of the odds of a poisoning event occurring. Conclusions: Distinct patterns and trends associated with all-cause poisoning were identified by the study. These findings provide valuable insight into poisoning hospitalizations and deaths in BC for the period 2008 to 2013. By considering these findings and understanding the epidemiology of poisoning, clinicians from across the province can be better equipped to counsel patients and their families on ways to prevent poisonings. Clinicians, academics, and policymakers can also use these study findings to develop prevention initiatives that reduce the burden of poisonings on the health care system and society as a whole.

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