Saturday, May 27, 2006

Ground coffee accidentally ingested by a one year old.

Case: a one year old female seen early in the day for her routine one year exam(normal) presents to the ER having ingested "about 2 tablespoons" of ground coffee. Emesis was induced and produced REAL "coffee ground emesis". She was asymptomatic except for a sinus tachycardia 140-160.
Parents questioned as to "did she really eat that much coffee?" and we were assured that she "was stuffing in her mouth as fast as she could".
The amount of caffeine in this amount of coffee was the question once we found the toxic dose in children to be 35mg/kg. She weighed 10 kg. We could not find the amount of caffeine in ground coffee.
The father of the child (a physician) remembered that one coffee bean contained 35mg of caffeine(not verified). So the number of beans in one tablespoon of ground coffee were counted out. This number was roughly 40. This calculated to between 1400-2800mg of caffeine ingested by this child. In retrospect this was probably high, because the child looked normal. She was admitted to the hospital and observed. She remained asymptomatic but contiuned the tachycardia. The next morning she was fine, heart rate 110-120, and was dismissed home. Follow up she has had no problems.

Comment: I wish I had gotten a serum caffeine level. Induction of emesis probably helped reduce symptoms. This is the first ingestion of this type which I have been involved or heard.
Poison Control had no information, and later called to get permission for this to be an "index case". Certainly would be nice to have a valid source of knowledge about specific amounts of caffeine in ground coffee so we would not have to use the kitchen lab to grind coffee or do the calculus done in the previous post.

posted by joe @ 5/27/2006 09:47:00 AM   2 comments


At 8:22 AM, Blogger Clay said...

My estimation for the amount of caffeine in 1 tablespoon of ground coffee was 150-300mg. Joe's lofty estimate was 700-1400mg. I emailed Folger's and their response was that one tablespoon of ground coffee had only 58.9 mg of caffeine, but of course we know that there will variation based on different types. Here is the full response:

"I'm sorry your friend's daughter had that experience and I'm sharing your report
with our Health & Safety Division.
It may be helpful to know that snack and beverage products are exempt from the
MSDS requirement so the Poison Control Center would not have any information.
Be assured, we go to great lengths to ensure that our products are safe. All of
our snack and beverage products are made from non-hazardous, FDA approved
ingredients and have been proben safe through many years of extensive testing
and consumer use.
That said, there are 58.9 mg of caffeine in each Tablespoon of ground coffee.
Thanks for taking the time to write. If we can be of additional help, please
let us know."

At 5:02 PM, Blogger joe said...

Good work, as I mentioned I thought our estimate was high, as our estimate of what she actually ingested was a guess.
We need to forward the case and amount of caffeine to poison control.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Disclaimer: This blog is for entertainment purposes. If you are a doctor, practice at your own risk.