Predictors of ICU admission and long-term outcomes in overdose presentations to Emergency Department

Mark Savage, Ross Kung, Cameron Green, Brandon Thia, Dinushka Perera, Ravindranath Tiruvoipati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Objective: To describe the characteristics of patients presenting to an Emergency Department (ED) following overdoses; to identify risk factors for intensive care unit (ICU) admission among these patients; and to identify the rate of mortality and repeat overdose presentations over four years. Methods: Adult patients presenting to ED following drug overdose during 2014 were included. Data were collected from medical notes and hospital databases. Results: During the study period, 654 patients presented to ED 800 times following overdose. Seventy-eight (9.8%) resulted in ICU admission, and 59 (7.4%) required intubation; 57.2% had no history of overdose presentations, and 72.9% involved patients with known psychiatric illness. Overdose of atypical antipsychotics (AAP), age and history of prior overdose independently predicted ICU admission. A third of patients (n = 196, 30%) had subsequent presentations to ED following overdose, in the four years from their index presentation, with an all-cause four-year mortality of 3.4% (n = 22). Conclusion: A history of overdose, use of AAP and older age were risk factors for ICU admission following ED presentations. Over a third of patients had repeat overdose presentation in the four-year follow-up with a mortality of 3.4%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-79
Number of pages5
JournalAustralasian Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • emergency department
  • intensive care
  • overdose
  • poisoning
  • self-harm

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