Prevention has a main role in reducing the occurrence of corrosive ingestion especially in children, yet this goal is far from being reached in developing countries, where such injuries are largely unreported and their true prevalence simply cannot be extrapolated from random articles or personal experience. Because of the accidental nature of the ingestions, the case fatality rate for pediatric patients is significantly less than that of adolescents and adults. Currently, esophagoscopy is recommended for all patients with a history of caustic substance ingestion because clinical criteria have not proved to be reliable predictors of esophageal injury. The presence or absence of three serious signs and symptoms-vomiting, drooling, and stridor—as well as the presence and location of oropharyngeal burns could be compared with the findings on subsequent esophagoscopy. Medical or endoscopic prevention of stricture is debatable, yet esophageal stents, absorbable or not, show promising data.
The purpose of this lecture is to outline the current epidemiology, mechanism of injury, clinical manifestations, management and long-term complications of caustic ingestions in pediatric patients.
Key Words: Caustic, Children, Ingestions.