Choking risk among psychiatric inpatients
1Division of Psychiatric Internal Medicine, Seiwakai-Kitsunan Hospital, Suzenji, Japan
Choking is a life-threatening and not infrequent occurrence in psychiatric hospitals. There is, however, little information available about the risk factors or methods to prevent choking. We conducted a retrospective analysis of the 8 patients who had a cardiopulmonary arrest due to choking and received resuscitation at our hospital during the 6-year period from April 2005 to March 2011. The study involved 6 males and females, all of whom were patients with schizophrenia taking antipsychotics orally. They were aged from 56 to 79 (mean ± SD: 69.0 ± 7.5 years), with the duration of illness from 28 to 54 years (39.9 ± 7.9 years). In 6 of the 8 cases, choking was diagnosed immediately on the basis of the situation at the time of cardiopulmonary arrest. In the remaining 2 cases, cardiopulmonary arrest was initially unexplained, and choking was only diagnosed subsequently. Choking was caused by bread in all cases. Tracheal intubation was carried out in all cases and resulted in successful resuscitation, causing no subsequent change in functions compared with the prechoking condition. All 8 patients had been receiving multiple antipsychotics before the event (mean number of drugs used 2.5 ± 0.7), with a total dose level ranging from 600 to 1800 mg/day chlorpromazine equivalents (mean 1113 ± 341 mg/day). Seven of the 8 patients had mild to moderate involuntary movements, and 5 patients were diagnosed with antipsychotic-induced tardive dyskinesia. During the 5-year period before the choking event, 7 of the 8 patients had at least 1 treatment interruption, and some patients had up to 4 interruptions.
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