Emergency clinicians must be aware of the dangers of caustic exposure and be prepared to stabilize patients and facilitate proper management and referral. Intentional ingestions typically result in more-severe injuries than unintentional ingestions, most likely because the quantities and concentrations of the substances ingested tend to be greater. Patients with an intentional caustic ingestion and patients with unintentional caustic ingestion who present with stridor or 2 or more of the findings of vomiting, pain, or drooling require endoscopy; however, endoscopy should be performed only if it can be done within 12 hours of the ingestion. Endoscopy is contraindicated after 24 hours, due to the risk of perforation.
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