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August 21, 1981

Criteria for Hospitalizing Children Who Have Ingested Products Containing Hydrocarbons

JAMA. 1981;246(8):840-843. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320080026021

The clinical records of 950 children who ingested products containing hydrocarbons were reviewed. Eight hundred children were asymptomatic at the time of the initial evaluation and remained so during a six- to eight-hour period of observation. All had normal chest films, and all were treated as outpatients. One hundred fifty other children were admitted to the hospital; 79 were symptomatic at the time of initial medical evaluation and had abnormal chest roentgenograms. Seventy-one other children were asymptomatic but had roentgenographic evidence of pulmonary involvement (36) or had had pulmonary symptoms before arriving at the medical facility (35). Complications (seven) occurred only in symptomatic children who had roentgenographic evidence of pneumonia. These data suggest that the majority of children who are brought for medical evaluation after ingesting hydrocarbon-containing substances do not experience pulmonary complications and therefore do not require hospitalization. Only children who are symptomatic at the time of initial medical evaluation or who became symptomatic during a six- to eight-hour observation period require hospitalization.

(JAMA 1981;246:840-843)