March 26, 2002: Does the Middle Tennessee Poison Center have any statistics regarding exposures, calls, etc?

At the beginning of each year, data is compiled indicating exposure statistics for the previous year. Kim Barker, Pharm D., Assistant Director of the Middle Tennessee Poison Center, will share some of the data from our 2001 Annual Report.  Also, Kim will provide additional information in the following week’s “Question of the Week”.    ds

2001 Annual Report of the Middle Tennessee Poison Center (MTPC)

Each year, poison control centers accredited by the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) must compile an Annual Report detailing call volume statistics.  This week’s question will provide a summary of the MTPC data and highlights from 2001.  Specific substances involved in exposures will be detailed in next week’s “Question of the Week”.

The Middle Tennessee Poison Center is the only AAPCC accredited poison center in Tennessee.  Accreditation criteria include 24/7 availability, medical toxicologist back up, hotline phones answered by RNs, Pharm Ds, or physicians who have passed a national certification exam, and a sufficient call volume based on population served.  The nurses, pharmacists, and physicians that staff the hotline enter all calls into a software program that keeps a computerized record of every call.  Individual fields keep track of information such as the call type, age of the patient, substance involved, and outcome. 


Poison Center data is submitted to AAPCC by the sixty-five United States Poison Centers. Since August 2001, data is compiled and submitted electronically in real-time to the AAPCC Toxic Exposure Surveillance System (TESS).  This real-time electronic data can detect sudden outbreaks involving specific substances or symptoms within certain geographic regions.  All data submitted is blinded and does not include any patient identifiers.

Highlights from the 2001 data include:

  • 51,393 – cases managed by the MTPC staff. This was a 19% increase from 2000.
  • 23,604 –human exposures
  • 1,357 – cases with significant adverse effects from the exposure or death. The majority of these cases were adult patients with intentional exposures.  There were no deaths in children.
  • 13,222 – exposures in children under the age of six.
  • 12,963 – exposures in children under the age of six that were managed at home.
  • 6,569 – patients treated at health care facilities.  Over half of these patients were already at the facility prior to a call to the poison center.  Many of these would not have been sent to a health care facility if the poison center had been contacted prior to arrival.
  • 13,311 – number of follow-up calls made by the poison center staff.  All patients at health care facilities are followed until medically cleared.  Additional treatment recommendations are provided to the hospital staff during the patient’s stay.  Follow-up calls are made to patients remaining at home if there is a possibility of minor symptoms that may require additional treatment or referral.

The call volume at the Middle Tennessee Poison Center continues to increase in 2002.  The active outreach and education programs increase awareness of poison center services.  In 2001, 9,874 people attended education programs presented by the Poison Center.  MTPC distributed 89,623 pieces of literature throughout the designated service area.  Poison prevention literature is available in both English and Spanish.

If any questions regarding Poison Center data or to order Poison Prevention literature please call the administrative office at (615) 936-0760 or the hotline at 1(800) 222-1222.

Kim Barker Pharm. D.