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May 23, 1980

Prevention of Organ Damage in Massive Ethylene Glycol Ingestion

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, Dallas. Dr Stokes is currently with the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

JAMA. 1980;243(20):2065-2066. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300460047028

ETHYLENE glycol is potentially lethal in adults when ingested in amounts greater than 100 mL.1 Even smaller amounts can be lethal in children and can produce renal, cardiac, and CNS toxic reactions. The patient in the case reported in this article ingested many times the lethal dose. Because therapy was instituted rapidly, she recovered without any of the sequelae classically ascribed to ethylene glycol poisoning. This case provides evidence that the principles of toxicity and its prevention derived from animal models are applicable to man.

Report of a Case  A 33-year-old woman was brought to the Parkland Hospital emergency room one hour after drinking 2 L of ethylene glycol. She had been unable to self-induce vomiting. She was taking thioridazine for chronic paranoid schizophrenia and had attempted suicide on at least one other occasion. On examination she appeared mildly intoxicated but was noncombative. The blood pressure was 105/90 mm