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Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2012 Nov;50(9):823-31. doi: 10.3109/15563650.2012.728224. Epub 2012 Sep 20.

Risk factors related to poor outcome after methanol poisoning and the relation between outcome and antidotes--a multicenter study.

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Department of Anesthesiology and ICU, University of Tartu, Pärnu County Hospital, Estonia.

Erratum in

  • Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2013 Feb;51(2):125.



Thorough prognostic and metabolic studies of methanol poisonings are scarce. Our aims were to evaluate the factors associated with sequelae and death from methanol poisoning, to develop a simple risk-assessment chart to evaluate factors associated with sequelae and death from methanol poisoning, and to compare the antidotes ethanol and fomepizole.


We present a retrospective observational case series of methanol-poisoned patients from Norway (1979 and 2002-2005), Estonia (2001) and Tunisia (2003/2004), and patients from two different centers in Iran (Teheran 2004-2009 and Mashhad 2009-2010) who were identified by a positive serum methanol and had a blood acid-base status drawn on admission. The patients were divided into different groups according to their outcome: Survived, survived with sequelae, and died.


A total of 320 patients were identified and 117 were excluded. Of the remaining 203 patients, 48 died, and 34 were discharged with neurological sequelae. A pH < 7.00 was found to be the strongest risk factor for poor outcome, along with coma (Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) < 8) and a pCO(2) ≥ 3.1 kPa in spite of a pH < 7.00. More patients died despite hyperventilation (low pCO(2)) in the ethanol group.


Low pH (pH < 7.00), coma (GCS < 8), and inadequate hyperventilation (pCO(2) ≥ 3.1 kPa in spite of a pH < 7.00) on admission were the strongest predictors of poor outcome after methanol poisoning. A simple flow-chart may help identify the patients associated with a poor outcome.

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