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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 168-171

The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on caustic ingestion at a tertiary care center in South India

Department of Gastroenterology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ebby George Simon
Department of Gastroenterology, Christian Medical College, Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cmi.cmi_118_21

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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health of individuals which has sometimes led to attempts at deliberate self-harm including the ingestion of caustic substances. This study was aimed to compare the rates of caustic substance ingestion during the pandemic to a similar period in the preceding year at our center. Methodology: We carried out a retrospective analysis, in which patients' details (demographic, clinical, endoscopic, and outcomes) were collected and compared between April 2019 and December 2019 (pre-COVID-19 pandemic) and from April 2020 to December 2020 (during the COVID-19 pandemic). Results: A total of 41 patients were included in this study, 26 (63.4%) in the pandemic period and 15 (36.5%) in the prepandemic period. The majority were female in both the prepandemic (60%) and pandemic periods (53.9%). More adolescents (<18 years of age) were seen in the pandemic period (15.3%) than in the prepandemic period (6.7%). The proportion of patients admitted with caustic substance ingestion in the pandemic period (3.53%) was significantly higher than in the prepandemic period (1.57%) (P = 0.0094). Conclusion: Caustic substance ingestion almost doubled in our center during the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the burden of mental health issues during a pandemic.

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