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Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2013 Mar;51(3):140-6. doi: 10.3109/15563650.2013.770154. Epub 2013 Feb 18.

Position paper update: gastric lavage for gastrointestinal decontamination.

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American Academy of Clinical Toxicology, McLean, VA, USA.



The first update of the 1997 gastric lavage position paper was published by the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology and the European Association of Poisons Centres and Clinical Toxicologists in 2004. This second update summarizes the 2004 content and reviews new data.


A systematic review of the literature from January 2003 to March 2011 yielded few studies directly addressing the utility of gastric lavage in the treatment of poisoned patients.


Sixty-nine new papers were reviewed. Recent publications continue to show that gastric lavage may be associated with serious complications. A few clinical studies have recently been published showing beneficial outcomes, however, all have significant methodological flaws.


At present there is no evidence showing that gastric lavage should be used routinely in the management of poisonings. Further, the evidence supporting gastric lavage as a beneficial treatment in special situations is weak, as is the evidence to exclude benefit in all cases. Gastric lavage should not be performed routinely, if at all, for the treatment of poisoned patients. In the rare instances in which gastric lavage is indicated, it should only be performed by individuals with proper training and expertise.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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