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Acad Emerg Med. 1996 Jan;3(1):46-9.

Ethanol ingestion and related hypoglycemia in a pediatric and adolescent emergency department population.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Louisiana State University, New Orleans, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To estimate the frequency of associated hypoglycemia in an ethanol-ingesting pediatric and adolescent population.

METHODS:

The study was a retrospective review of nondiabetic pediatric and adolescent patients with measurable ethanol levels (i.e., > or = 2 mmol/L) who had an ED serum glucose level determined.

RESULTS:

Over the four-and-a-half-year study period, there were 254,234 pediatric visits. One hundred eleven had ethanol levels determined (0.044% of patients) due to suspected ingestion. Of these 111, 88 had glucose levels determined. The mean age of the 88 patients was 14 years, with a mean glucose level of 5.6 mmol/L [101 mg/dL; interquartile range (IQR) 4.7-6.3 mmol/L] and a mean ethanol level of 30 mmol/L (IQR 15-43 mmol/L). Glucose levels were < 67 mg/dL (hypoglycemia) in three of the 88 (3.4%) ethanol-positive patients; all the hypoglycemic patients had significant behavioral changes.

CONCLUSION:

In this large retrospective series, the number of patients for whom the clinical suspicion of ethanol ingestion was confirmed was quite small. Hypoglycemia occurred in only 3.4% of these selected patients; all had altered behavior. Pediatric patients with presentations suggesting ethanol intoxication with altered behavior should be assessed for concurrent hypoglycemia.

PMID:
8749967
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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