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J Emerg Trauma Shock. 2013 Apr;6(2):73-7. doi: 10.4103/0974-2700.110745.

Study of various clinical and laboratory parameters among 178 patients affected by hooch tragedy in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India): A single center experience.

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Department of Medicine and Emergency Medicine, Smt. NHL Municipal Medical College, VS General Hospital, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.



The outbreak of methanol poisoning described in this paper occurred in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India in July 2009. Our intention is to share the experience of clinical features, laboratory investigations and their relation during this tragedy.


Single center, retrospective study of clinical features and laboratory parameters of 178 cases of methanol toxicity treated at tertiary care hospital in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.


Maximum patients (39.8%, n = 45) were received in 48 h; Mean age of presentation was 41.9 ± 10.2 years. Most of them were men (175 out of 178). On presentation, 83% patients had gastro-intestinal symptoms, 46% had neurological symptoms, 73% had visual symptoms and 32% had dyspnoea. 62% had blurred vision, 10.5% had blindness. Patients with visual symptoms had high mean level of methanol (120.12 ± 23.12 vs. 55.43 ± 29.24, P = 0.014). On fundus examination 52.8% (n = 62) had bilateral hyperaemia of discs, 8.4% (n = 12) had bilateral disc pallor and 4.5% had papilledema (n = 5). Patients with hyperaemia of discs, discs pallor or papilledema, had higher mean methanol level (121.1 ± 32.2 mg% v/s 70.1 ± 23.2 mg%, P = 0.032). Mean of pH values was 7.17 ± 0.22 and bicarbonate was 12.3 ± 7.3 mmol/L. Both pH and bicarbonate levels correlated well with mortality and serum methanol level. Mean serum methanol level was 87.1 mg/dL, and correlated significantly with the mortality (53.1 ± 41 mg/dL v/s 121 ± 92 mg/dL, P value < 0.05).


GI symptoms, neurological symptoms and breathlessness are important clue to ED physician for diagnose methanol poisoning. Visual symptoms and fundus findings correlate well with the methanol level. Arterial Blood Gas derived pH and bicarbonate levels correlate significantly with the methanol level and mortality.


Ahmedabad; Gujarat; Shardaben hospital; hooch tragedy; methanol poisoning

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