Characteristics and outcomes of patients with drug overdose requiring admission to Intensive Care Unit

Vinit Athavale, Cameron Green, Kai Zheong Lim, Caroline Wong, Ravindranath Tiruvoipati

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Approximately 20% of patients admitted to hospital with drug overdose will require intensive care unit (ICU) admission. An understanding of the characteristics of these patients may assist with their management and identify those patients at risk of multiple hospital presentations due to drug overdose. Our aim was to examine the characteristics of patients admitted to ICU following drug overdoses and identify the predictors of multiple hospital presentations due to drug overdose. Methods: Patients admitted to a metropolitan ICU over a three-year period following drug overdoses were identified using ICU patient databases, and their medical records. Results: There were 254 admissions due to drug overdoses. The majority of overdoses were intentional (82.7%) and included multiple agents (68.1%). Two-thirds of patients had psychiatric diagnosis, and 54% had documented history of substance use disorders. In-hospital mortality was 2.8%. Over half of patients admitted had documented history of prior hospital presentation due to overdoses. Personality disorder and schizophrenia were independent predictors of multiple hospital presentations due to overdoses. Conclusion: Personality disorders or schizophrenia were independent predictors of patients with multiple overdose presentations. Preventative strategies focusing on these patients may reduce the incidence of their hospital presentations and ICU admissions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-493
Number of pages5
JournalAustralasian Psychiatry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • intensive care
  • overdose
  • poisoning

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