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April 20, 1963

Accidental Intra-Arterial Injection of Ether

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Surgery and the Heart Research Center, Indiana University Medical Center.

JAMA. 1963;184(3):241-242. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.73700160012021c

MEASUREMENT of the venous circulation time is frequently performed as a part of a thorough evaluation of a patient's cardiac status. It is generally considered a simple, routine test and is often done in the physician's office. Ether is one of the many substances which has been recommended for this measurement. Its use has been considered innocuous, and toxic effects are not mentioned in standard textbooks of medicine and cardiology. The purpose of this report is to point out that ether may be hazardous if it is accidentally introduced into an artery.

Report of a Case  The patient was a 64-yr-old male. The day prior to hospitalization an attempt was made to measure venous circulation time using 1/2 ml of ether in 1/2 ml of saline administered into what was thought to be the antecubital vein. Immediately following the injection, the patient experienced severe burning pain in his arm and

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