Hospitalized patients with acute poisonings are a heterogenous group, both regarding their socio-economic background and the actual poisonings leading to their admittions.
Aims: To study the correlation between living conditions and acute poisonings in the city districts of Oslo, looking at incidence, main toxic agents and intention.
A one-year multi-centre study with prospective inclusion of all patients ≥ 18 years of age with a registred address in the municipality of Oslo, who were admitted to an Oslo hospital because of acute poisoning. These have been categorized by city district (per 1.1.2004) and dividied into three equally large groups, based on Oslo’s official living conditions index (most difficult, average and best living conditions).
In city district group 1 (most difficult living conditions), the frequence of intoxications requiring hospitalization was 2,14 per 1000 inhabitants, significantly higher than city district group 2 (average living conditions), who had 1,50 (p<0.001) and city district group 3 (best living conditions), who had 1,36 (p<0.001). There was no significant difference between group 2 and group 3 (p=0.32).
48 %, 36 % and 49 %, respectively, of the patients were males (significantly lowest in group 2) and the median age was 39, 39 and 38 years (range 18-89).
In all the city district groups, the dominating main toxic agents were benzodiazepines (21 %, 16 %, and 21 %; p=0.16, n.s.), ethanol (18 %, 17 % and 18 %) and paracetamol (11 %, 12 % and 12 %).
Clinical evaluation also showed no significant differences in the intentions behind the poisonings. The suicidal poisonings accounted for 35 %, 41 % and 38 %, respectively, whereas 38 %, 32 % and 39 % were results of accidents and 27 %, 24 % and 24 % were attributed to an act of appeal.
The incidence of intoxications requering hospitalization was a great deal higher in the city districts with the most difficult living conditions (57 % higher than in the city districts with the best living conditions). At the same time, there were intriguingly few differences in the pattern of poisoning, regarding main toxic agents and intention, meaning that the incidence of suicide attempts was about 50 % higher in city districts with difficult living conditions.