What is the focus of treatment for caustic ingestions?

Updated: Dec 09, 2020
  • Author: Derrick Lung, MD, MPH, FACEP, FACMT; Chief Editor: David Vearrier, MD, MPH  more...
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In patients with caustic ingestion, airway monitoring and control is the first priority. When airway compromise is present, a definitive airway must be established. In patients with a stable airway and no clinical or radiological sign of perforation, medical therapy should be initiated. [13, 14, 15, 16]

Arrangements should be made for urgent esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) to grade the degree of injury and establish long-term prognosis, In asymptomatic patients, however, EGD may be withheld in favor of observation. Pediatric patients who remain asymptomatic for 2 - 4 hours after an exploratory ingestion and who are tolerating a normal diet may be discharged with appropriate follow-up and return precautions. Surgical consultation is indicated for suspected perforation. Because of the risk of late complications—most commonly, esophageal stricture formation—arrangements for follow-up need to be made. [13, 14, 15]

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