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Presse Med. 1990 Sep 22;19(30):1403-6.

[Hospital morbidity and mortality of acute opiate intoxication].

[Article in French]

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Service des Soins intensifs de M├ędecine, CHU Vaudois, Lausanne, Suisse.


The records of 188 consecutive patients admitted for acute opiate intoxication were analyzed retrospectively to evaluate the morbidity and mortality of opiates. The most frequently used of these drugs were heroin (127 cases) and methadone (41 cases). In 79 cases the opiate was associated with another psychodepressant, usually benzodiazepines, alcohol or barbiturates. Forty-seven percent of the patients were admitted in deep coma, with respiratory arrest in almost every case. The complications observed in 49 patients were: aspiration of gastric contents (n = 24), rhabdomyolysis (n = 22), often associated with myocarditis (n = 13), pulmonary edema (n = 16), convulsions (n = 10), left ventricular dysfunction (n = 5) and lesions of the peripheral nervous system (n = 4). All patients survived, except one who died of cardiac arrest before admission. It is concluded that acute opiate intoxication treated in hospital has an excellent prognosis for life provided no cardiac arrest occurs prior to admission. One quarter of the patients require prolonged stay in an intensive care unit because of complications. The other patients, even when deeply comatose on admission, spend less than 1 day in hospital owing to the specific antagonist available.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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