November 5, 1997

Summertime Cluster of Intentional Ethylene Glycol Ingestions

Author Affiliations

Rush-Presbyterian-St Luke's Medical Center Chicago, Ill

Cook County Hospital and University of Illinois at Chicago Hospital Chicago

Illinois Poison Center Chicago

University of Illinois at Chicago Hospital

JAMA. 1997;278(17):1406. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550170036028

To the Editor.  —Ethylene glycol, as an inexpensive, easily obtainable, sweet-tasting liquid with inebriating effects, can be an attractive agent to the adolescent or younger adult, either for the purpose of its intoxicating effect or as a suicidal agent. In addition, the combination of its potency (lethal dose of about 1.5 mL/kg)1 along with delayed metabolic effects may make this substance a difficult toxin to diagnose and treat. We describe a cluster of intentional ethylene glycol ingestions occurring over a 3-month period during the summer in the northeastern Illinois area.Twenty-two consecutive patients with intentional ethylene glycol ingestions that were reported to the Illinois Poison Center from May through August 1996 were analyzed. Epidemiologic data consisting of age, sex, serum chemistry values, ethylene glycol levels, and outcome were collected. Follow-up was obtained in all cases within 48 hours of the initial report of the ingestion. Statistical analysis was performed

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