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Paraquat – boon or bane? A retrospective study of paraquat poisoning and outcomes in a tertiary care center in South India

1 Department of Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, Karnataka, India
2 Indian Institute of Public Health, Shillong, Meghalaya, India

Correspondence Address:
Kusugodlu Ramamoorthi,
Department of Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal - 576 104, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_859_21

Setting: Paraquat is a highly toxic, herbicide, extensively used in various parts of India. There is no effective treatment for paraquat poison and carries a very high mortality. In India, this compound can be misused for harmful purposes. Objective: A retrospective time-bound descriptive study of paraquat-consumed patients was conducted at Kasturba Hospital, Manipal, from January 1, 2014 to January 31, 2016. Materials and Methods: All the data were analyzed using the SPSS version 16. All the categorical data are expressed in terms of frequency and percentage. Continuous normal variables were expressed in terms of mean ± standard deviation, and skewed variables were expressed in terms of median and quartiles. Chi-square test was used to find the association between the categorical independent variables across the outcome in survivors, nonsurvivors, and those patients who were discharged from the hospital against medical advice. Similarly, Fisher's exact test was performed for those variables, for which 20% of the expected cell count was <5%. Kruskal–Wallis test was used to compare the relationship between the continuous skewed variables across the outcome. Results: A total of 55 paraquat-consumed patients were admitted, out of which 67.27% (n = 37) of patients were men. Only 32.7% (n = 18) of patients were farmers. Oral ulcers were seen in 43.6% (n = 24) of patients. About 65.5% (n = 36) of patients underwent hemoperfusion, 27.3% (n = 15) of patients survived, 47.3% (n = 26) of patients expired, and 25.5% (n = 14) of patients were discharged against medical advice in a critical condition. The presence of respiratory failure, hypotension, need for ventilator supportive therapy, the elevation of levels of blood urea, serum creatinine, and liver enzymes AST and ALT levels were statistically significant in three groups (P < 0.001). Conclusion: Paraquat poisoning is highly fatal. Treatment is expensive and available only in tertiary care hospitals in India. Central and state governments should ensure that it should not be readily accessible to ordinary people and it should be banned progressively.

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