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Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2016 Jun;54(5):450-3. doi: 10.3109/15563650.2016.1157723. Epub 2016 Mar 21.

Carbon monoxide poisoning and pulmonary injury from the mixture of formic and sulfuric acids.

Author information

1
a Division of Medical Toxicology, Department of Emergency Medicine , University of California, San Diego Health System , San Diego , CA , USA.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

The inhalation of carbon monoxide produced by the incomplete combustion of carbon remains a popular method of suicide. A much less common method of producing carbon monoxide for suicide is by mixing formic and sulfuric acids.

CASE DETAILS:

We describe a patient who attempted suicide by mixing formic and sulfuric acids. He presented with a depressed level of consciousness, chemical burns of his airway and skin, and respiratory distress. He was found to have a metabolic acidosis, a carboxyhemoglobin of 36.8%, hyperkalemia, and rhabdomyolysis. His hospital course was notable for copious pulmonary secretions and hypoxia, but he ultimately recovered with supportive care.

DISCUSSION:

The case highlights the potential toxicity, particularly from inhaled carbon monoxide and formic acid, with this method of suicide.

KEYWORDS:

Carbon monoxide; carboxyhemoglobin; chemical pneumonitis; rescuer; suicide

PMID:
26998888
DOI:
10.3109/15563650.2016.1157723
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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