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June 30, 1956


Author Affiliations

Washington, D. C.

Fellow in Medicine, Renal Laboratory (Dr. Berman); Professor of Medicine and Director, Department of Medicine (Dr. Jeghers); Assistant Professor of Medicine and Director, Renal Clinic (Dr. Schreiner), Georgetown University Medical Center. Post Doctoral Research Fellow, National Heart Institute (Dr. Berman). Graduate student, Department of Pharmacology, Georgetown University School of Medicine (Mr. Pallotta). Mr. Pallotta is now at the Hazelton Laboratory, Falls Church, Va.

JAMA. 1956;161(9):820-827. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970090046010

• Acute intoxication by barbiturates such as phenobarbital and pentobarbital was studied in 26 patients, 8 of whom were treated with a Kolff hemodialyzer. The concentrations of barbiturate in the blood were determined quantitatively and made it possible to follow the removal of the drug from the circulation. Concentrations as high as 29.0 mg. of barbiturate per 100 ml. of blood were found. Reduction of barbiturate level paralleled clinical improvement in most cases, and in one case a total of 9.33 gm. of phenobarbital was recovered, representing 37% of the ingested dose.

The higher the initial concentration of barbiturate in the blood, the greater was the rate of removal. The efficiency of the hemodialysis improved as the patient's clinical condition improved. Hemodialysis appears to be a rational and highly effective treatment of acute barbiturate poisoning.