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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

versión On-line ISSN 2078-5135
versión impresa ISSN 0256-9574

Resumen

LAHER, A E; MOTARA, F; GIHWALA, R  y  MOOLLA, M. The profile of patients presenting with intentional self-poisoning to the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital emergency department, South Africa. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2022, vol.112, n.5, pp.347-351. ISSN 2078-5135.  http://dx.doi.org/10.7196/SAMJ.2022.v112i5.16366.

BACKGROUND. With 23.5 suicide-related deaths per 100 000 population, South Africa (SA) has the eighth-highest age-standardised suicide rate in the world. Intentional self-poisoning is associated with significant morbidity, mortality and cost. In SA, self-poisoning is the leading method of suicide in females and the second leading method in males. OBJECTIVES. To determine the profile of patients presenting with intentional self-poisoning to the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital emergency department. METHODS. The study was a cross-sectional, retrospective audit of the medical records of patients who presented over a 12-month period with intentional self-poisoning. RESULTS. Of the 288 patients included, 62.8% were female, 62.1% were aged 18 - 30 years, 22.2% were foreign nationals, 88.9% were single, 62.8% were unemployed, 82.3% reported that the episode was precipitated by an acute stressful event, 5.6% required intensive care unit (ICU) admission, and 4.5% died prior to hospital discharge. Organophosphate/carbamate pesticide ingestion was the most common method of self-poisoning (25.3%) and was responsible for the majority of ICU admissions (81.3%), cases requiring hospitalisation for >6 days (56.5%) and deaths (69.2%). CONCLUSION. A large proportion of patients were female, 18 - 30 years of age, single, unemployed, and reported an acute stressful event as a precipitant. Organophosphate/carbamate pesticide ingestion was the most common method of self-poisoning and accounted for the majority of deaths and ICU admissions. Nationwide efforts should be aimed at enhancing awareness and implementing strategies to identify those at increased risk of suicidal behaviour.

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