Caustic Ingestions Guidelines

Updated: Oct 21, 2022
  • Author: Derrick Lung, MD, MPH, FACEP, FACMT; Chief Editor: David Vearrier, MD, MPH  more...
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Guidelines Summary

Guidelines on pediatric gastrointestinal endoscopy from the European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ESGE) and European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) include the following suggestions and recommendations for management of corrosive ingestion in pediatric patients [23] :

  • Suggestion: Every child who has ingested a corrosive substance should have a thorough follow-up, with endoscopy dictated only by symptoms; depending on the symptoms, endoscopy should be performed within 24 hours. (Strong recommendation, high quality evidence.)
  • Recommendation: Every child with a suspected caustic ingestion and symptoms or signs (eg, oral lesions, vomiting, drooling, dysphagia, hematemesis, dyspnea, abdominal pain) should undergo esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) to identify all consequent digestive tract lesions. (Strong recommendation, high quality evidence.)
  • Suggestion: In cases of suspected corrosive ingestion where the child is asymptomatic (no drooling of saliva/other symptoms, no mouth lesions) and adequate follow-up is assured, EGD may be withheld. (Weak recommendation, moderate quality evidence.)
  • Recommendation: In patients with grade IIb esophagitis after corrosive ingestion, high doses of intravenous dexamethasone (1 g/1.73 m 2 per day) should be administered for a short period (3 days), to prevent the development of esophageal stricture. No evidence of benefit exists for the use of corticosteroids in other grades of esophagitis (I, IIa, III). (Strong recommendation, moderate quality evidence.)