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J Korean Soc Emerg Med > Volume 16(2); 2005 > Article
Journal of The Korean Society of Emergency Medicine 2005;16(2): 298-303.
A Retrospective Review of Patients Who Ingested Liquid Household Bleach Containing Sodium Hypochlorite
Woong Khi, Jun Sig Kim, Kwang Je Baek, Seung Baik Han, Dong Wun Shin, Ji Hye Kim, Hyung Keun Roh
1Department of Emergency Medicine, Inha University Hospital, Incheon, Korea. keunroh@inha.ac.kr
2Department of Internal Medicine, Inha University Hospital, Incheon, Korea.
Bleaching agents containing sodium hypochlorite are widely used at home to bleach laundry and to disinfect hard surfaces. A retrospective study, with a literature review, was conducted to focus attention on the clinical outcome after accidental or intentional ingestion of sodium hypochlorite.
The medical records of 67 patients presented to the Inha University emergency department for sodium hypochlorite ingestion between June 1996 and July 2003 were retrospectively examined.
The Mean volume of the bleach in the 56 patients who ingested the bleach in a suicide attempt was significantly larger than that of the 11 patients with accidental ingestion (P=0.001). Nausea and vomiting was present in 79% of the patients. The volume of ingestion in patients with vomiting was significantly larger than that in patients without vomiting (P=0.001). Patients with epigastric pain ingested larger volumes of bleach compared to patients without the pain (P=0.01). Endoscopic examinations were performed in seven patient, and normal findings were seen in three patients. Grade 1 caustic injury was observed in two patients, and Grade 2 injuries in the rest.
The solution of the sodium hypochlorite may cause mild symptoms and seems to be safe after ingestion. However, careful evaluation with endoscopy and hospital admission should be considered if there are symptoms or signs suggesting caustic injury of the esophagus and/or stomach or if the ingested volume is large.
Key words: Sodium hypochlorite, Caustics, Poisons
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