BACKGROUND: Caustic ingestions are rare but potentially life-threatening events requiring multidisciplinary emergency approaches. Although particularly respiratory functions may be impaired after caustic ingestions, studies involving acute emergency care are scarce. The goal of this study was to explore acute emergency care with respect to airway management and emergency department (ED) infrastructures.
CONCLUSIONS: Caustic ingestions in adult patients require an ED infrastructure providing 24/7-availability of expertise in establishing emergentairway safety, endoscopic examination (EGD and bronchoscopy), and CT diagnostic, intensive care and emergency esophageal surgery. We recommend that - even in patients with apparently stable clinical conditions - careful monitoring of respiratory functions should be considered as long as diagnostic work-up is completed.