Assessing Paracetamol Overdose in Children: Acceptability and Potential Market for a Non-Invasive Testing Device.
Freitas D., Parry C., Seddon G., Lemke J., Moss J., Freeman N., Grice J., Hawcutt DB.
BACKGROUND: Assessment of paracetamol overdose in children and teenagers in the emergency department (ED) requires blood, taken 4 hours post ingestion. A commercial partner developed transdermal paracetamol measuring technology. This work aims to understand the acceptability of such a device, and potential market size. METHODS: A questionnaire study was undertaken with children and parents attending Alder Hey Children's Hospital, and healthcare professionals (HCP) involved in their care. A retrospective audit of paracetamol ingestion presenting to a paediatric ED was undertaken. RESULTS: One hundred forty-three questionnaires were distributed, and 139 returned (response rate 97.2%), comprising 55 children, 52 parents and 32 HCP (recruited between August-October 2019). Overall device acceptability, assessed by favourability of appearance and willingness to wear was high, at 60.0% and 81.5% respectively. Concerns raised included bulky size and weight, and concern regarding the duration younger children would tolerate wearing the device. All groups, including children, ranked accuracy of results as the most important device feature and device comfort the least important. Parents prioritised avoidance of blood tests more than children. One hundred twenty-seven children presented to ED with paracetamol ingestion (September 2017-August 2018), with 57 (44.9%) categorised as accidental overdose. Overall, 106 (83.4%) required paracetamol concentration measuring, and 25 (19.7%) of these required treatment with N-acetylcysteine. Extrapolating nationally, over 7000 children will present with accidental overdose per annum in the UK. CONCLUSION: Acceptability of a non-invasive paracetamol sensor was high in all groups, provided accuracy could be assured.