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Med Clin (Barc). 2000 Oct 28;115(14):530-3.

[Paraquat poisoning. A study of 29 cases and evaluation of the effectiveness of the "Caribbean scheme"].

[Article in Spanish]

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Medicina Intensiva. Hospital La Fe. Valencia.



To study clinical aspects of the oral paraquat intoxication and to assess the effectiveness of both the charcoal haemoperfusion and the so-called "Caribbean scheme" (cyclophosphamide, dexamethasone, furosemide and vitamins B and C) to reduce its mortality.


Retrospective study of 29 consecutive cases admitted to our intensive care unit in 17 years.


a) Twenty five men and four women ingested 20% paraquat solution, either accidentally (4 subjects) or deliberately (25 subjects). The suicidal purpose was particularly strong among men aged 50-66 years. Most of patients had vomits and diarrhoea. All patients developed oral and pharyngeal caustic lesions. Hypokalaemia was detected on admission in 9 patients. Increased levels of serum aminotransferases, bilirubin, amylase or creatinkinase were detected in some patients. Twenty two patients developed acute renal failure and 18 patients respiratory failure. Twenty patients died (ten in the first 48 hours and ten between days 3 and 30); b) charcoal haemoperfusion was performed on 16 patients; 4 of the 16 treated patients survived, versus 5 of the 13 non treated (p = NS), and c) the "Caribbean scheme" was applied on 18 patients. All but one of the 11 subjects who ingested >= 45 ml (treated with the "Caribbean scheme" or not) died. Among those who ingested 45 ml, 8 of the 12 treated patients survived, versus none of the 6 non treated ones (p < 0.05).


Charcoal haemoperfusion did not reduce mortality of paraquat. The "Caribbean scheme" was associated with a lesser mortality in the subjects who ingested 45 ml of 20% paraquat solution.

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