Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care (Jan 2016)

Profile of deliberate self-harm patients presenting to Emergency Department: A retrospective study

  • Moses Kirubairaj Amos Jegaraj,
  • Shubhanker Mitra,
  • Sathish Kumar,
  • Bagyalakshmi Selva,
  • Manimaran Pushparaj,
  • Bijesh Yadav,
  • Abhilash Kundavaram Paul Prabhakar,
  • Alex Reginald

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 5, no. 1
pp. 73 – 76


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Background: Deliberate self-harm (DSH) is a major under-recognized epidemic in the low- and middle-income countries. This is a large retrospective study form the Emergency Department (ED) of Tertiary Care Center of South India to describe the clinicodemographic features of DSH cases. Materials and Methods: This is a retrospective study conducted at ED of Christian Medical College, Vellore, India from January 01, 2011 to December 31, 2013. All cases of DSH were included in the study. The demographic details, mode of DSH and clinical outcome were extracted from the electronic medical record. Descriptive statistics are presented. Chi-square test was used to compare categorical variables. For all tests, a two-sided P ≤ 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: Total of 1228 patients were admitted to ED for DSH during the study period. Male and female occurred in equal ratio. More than half of the cases occurred among age group below 30 years. Consumption of pesticides (agricultural chemicals) was the single most common mode of DSH (46%), especially among men, followed by medication overdose (29.8%). Consumption of plant poison and tablet overdose was higher among women. Overall mortality due to DSH was low (1.5%) in our study. Conclusion: DSH is under-recognized major public health problem in low-middle income countries like India. Most cases occur among young and productive age group and in equal frequencies among men and women. Timely and the appropriate institution of treatment can decrease the morbidity and mortality due to DSH remarkably.