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Biotechnology - Critical Care and Emergency Medicine - Public Health and Epidemiology

Risk and Prognostic Factors of Inpatient Mortality Associated with Unintentional Insecticide and Herbicide Poisonings: A Retrospective Cohort Study
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Author: Wu-Chien Chien et al.

by Wu-Chien Chien, Chi-Hsiang Chung, Jouni J. K. Jaakkola, Chi-Ming Chu, Senyeong Kao, Sui-Lung Su, Ching-Huang Lai


Pesticide poisoning is an important public health problem worldwide. The study aimed to determine the risk of all-cause and cause-specific inpatient mortality and to identify prognostic factors for inpatient mortality associated with unintentional insecticide and herbicide pesticide poisonings.


We performed a retrospective cohort study of 3,986 inpatients recruited at hospitalization between 1999 and 2008 in Taiwan. We used the International Classification of Disease, 9th ed., Clinical Modification external causes of injury codes to classify poisoning agents into accidental poisoning by insecticides and herbicides. Comparisons in mortality rates were made between insecticide poisoning patients and herbicide poisoning patients by using the Cox proportional hazards models to estimate multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs).


There were 168 deaths during 21,583 person-days of follow-up evaluation (7.8 per 1,000 person-days). The major causes of mortality for insecticide poisonings were the toxic effect of organophosphate and coma, and the major causes of mortality for herbicide poisonings were the toxic effect of other pesticides and the toxic effect of organophosphate. The mortality for herbicide exposure was fourfold higher than that for insecticide exposure. The factors associated with inpatient mortality were herbicide poisonings (HR?=?4.58, 95% CI 3.29 to 6.37) and receiving mechanical ventilation treatment (HR?=?3.85, 95% CI 2.73 to 5.42).


We demonstrated that herbicides stand out as the dominant agent for poisoning-related fatalities. The control of and limiting access to herbicide agents and developing appropriate therapeutic regimens, including emergency care, should be priorities.