Document Type : Original Article
Department of Forensic Medicine and Clinical Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.
-Department of Forensic Medicine and Clinical Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt. -Director of Poison Control Center, Ain Shams University Hospitals, Cairo, Egypt.
Department of Community, Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected global health systems and has
influenced patterns of disease worldwide.
Aim: The current study aims to analyze the patterns of toxicities before, during, and after the
pandemic at Poison Control Center (PCC) Ain Shams University Hospitals, identifying any
changes and their persistence after the pandemic.
Methods: A retrospective observational study using PCC's database of patients admitted from
January 1st 2019 to December 31st 2022.
Results: Over four years, the center managed to service large number of patients peaking to
21,107 patients were hospitalized, in 2022. Most admissions were adults comprising 57.24% in
2019 to 62.14% in 2022. Females represented 54.77% of admissions in 2019 declining to
52.69% in 2020 and rising to 55.61% in 2022. Pharmaceutical poisoning accounted for 26.85%
in 2019 and 27.13% in 2020 declining to 20.53% in 2022. Substance abuse, the second most
common diagnosis in 2019 with 13.79% prevailed in 2022 with 21.38%. Improvement was the
prevalent outcome with increase in demand leave and referral toward 2022. Gender and age
significantly affected diagnoses and outcomes.
Conclusion and Recommendations: This study concluded that the pandemic-related lockdowns
and subsequent easing of restrictions resulted in behavioral, substance exposure and use
changes. Some changes faded with the pandemic‟s end, while others persisted and new
behaviors became the norm. Urgent responses from healthcare providers and policymakers are
needed, emphasizing mental health support and substance misuse initiatives, especially for
vulnerable age groups.
Received in original form: 14 July 2023 Accepted in a final form: 30 July 2023