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Eur J Echocardiogr. 2006 Dec;7(6):470-2. Epub 2005 Nov 7.

Methemoglobinemia revisited: an important complication after transesophageal echocardiography.

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Department of Internal Medicine, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, One Robert Wood Johnson Place, MEB 486, New Brunswick, NJ 08903, USA.


Methemoglobinemia induced by the use of benzocaine-containing topical anesthetics is a rare, but potentially lethal complication after transesophageal echocardiography (TEE). We report a patient who developed methemoglobinemia after TEE. A review of the literature was performed and the majority of cases of benzocaine-induced methemoglobinemia reported thus far have occurred in patients undergoing TEE, endotracheal intubation, esophagogastroduodenoscopy, and bronchoscopy. All of these procedures have become more frequent than before, and there is a need to reemphasize the potential problem and to reconsider the need for further use of topical anesthetics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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