DOI: 10.2478/aiht-2023-74-3792 ISSN: 1848-6312

Accidental ingestion of concentrated white vinegar in Hatay children in Turkey

Ahmet Atıcı, Lina Miçooğulları, Bahar Uğur, Mehmet Emin Çelikkaya, Bülent Akçora
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Toxicology


White vinegar which contains high concentrations (~85 %) of acetic acid is a staple ingredient used in food preparation in many Mediterranean cuisines but in small amounts. Being corrosive, it can cause ulcerative injury to the oropharynx and oesophagus and upset the stomach with resulting nausea and vomiting. This study presents 11 cases of paediatric patients (five boys and six girls, aged between 11 and 89 months) with oesophageal strictures who drank white vinegar by accident. They all received endoscopic oesophageal dilation (with a bougie) ranging from one to 28 per patient, depending on the severity of the injury. Follow-up showed uneventful healing in eight patients, who at the time of the telephone call were able to swallow solids and liquids normally. Two patients who could not be reached by telephone were found healthy by consulting the national database (e-Nabız). Unfortunately, one patient, who was discharged without any symptoms after the first dilation, suffered massive gastrointestinal bleeding 24 hours after the dilation and died. The loss of this patient shows that ingesting white vinegar can be very dangerous in children, especially if parents delay seeking medical help. We believe that controlling the production and sales of highly concentrated white vinegar and selling it in child-proof containers can help to prevent accidental ingestions by children and tragic outcomes such as the one reported here.

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