October 1978

Acid-Base Disturbances in the Salicylate-Intoxicated Adult

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine, Denver General Hospital (Dr Gabow), and the University of Colorado Medical Center (Drs Anderson, Potts, and Schrier), Denver.

Arch Intern Med. 1978;138(10):1481-1484. doi:10.1001/archinte.1978.03630350019008

This study examined the acid-base disturbances in 67 adults with salicylate intoxication. On admission, 66 patients had an acid-base disturbance. In contrast to previous suggestions, however, only 25% of the patients had simple respiratory alkalosis. Unlike salicylate intoxication in children, 33% of these adults with salicylate intoxication had ingested additional drugs. These additional drugs generally were CNS depressants and were important determinants of the variety of the acid-base disturbance. Those patients who ingested additional drugs had a significantly lower incidence of respiratory alkalosis (P <.005) and a higher incidence of respiratory acidosis (P <.005) and acidemia (P <.025). The incidence of acidemia correlated with the presence of neurological symptoms.

(Arch Intern Med 138:1481-1484, 1978)