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Pediatrics. 2011 Jun;127(6):e1600-4. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-3229. Epub 2011 May 29.

Early administration of intratracheal surfactant (calfactant) after hydrocarbon aspiration.

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Department of Pediatrics, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, MI, USA.


Hydrocarbon ingestions account for a substantial number of accidental poisonings; when aspirated, it can lead to severe pneumonitis. Treatment for severe pneumonitis is generally supportive, and outcomes are frequently poor. We report here the case of a 19-month-old girl who was treated successfully with early administration of exogenous surfactant for acute respiratory distress syndrome secondary to aspiration of lamp oil. Approximately 7 hours after aspiration, she required mechanical ventilation and had an oxygenation index (OI) of 13.2. Approximately 10 hours after ingestion, exogenous surfactant (calfactant) was instilled intratracheally, after which her OI improved markedly to 4.3. She received a second dose ∼19 hours after ingestion, after which her OI remained at <5 and she was progressively weaned from mechanical ventilation. She was extubated 64 hours after the ingestion with no residual lung disease. This case illustrates the importance of considering exogenous surfactant therapy early in the course of acute respiratory failure secondary to hydrocarbon aspiration. Because of the putative mechanisms of lung injury involved in hydrocarbon aspiration, surfactant-replacement therapy is a reasonable therapeutic intervention based on pathophysiologic rationale.

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