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June 1970

Recovery After Prolonged Oliguria Due to Ethylene Glycol Intoxication: The Prognostic Value of Serial, Percutaneous Renal Biopsy

Author Affiliations

Portland, Ore

From the Division of Cardiovascular-Renal Disease, the departments of medicine and pathology, University of Oregon Medical School, Portland.

Arch Intern Med. 1970;125(6):1059-1062. doi:10.1001/archinte.1970.00310060137019

Ethylene glycol, a major ingredient in radiator antifreeze, is an aliphatic alcohol with prominent toxic effects on central nervous, cardiac, pulmonary, and renal systems. Toxicity results mainly from calcium oxalate and other metabolites rather than ethylene glycol per se. Symptoms resembling those of alcohol intoxication may occur soon after ingestion, and poisonings have resulted when ethylene glycol has been substituted for alcohol.1 Suicide attempts also account for a substantial number of cases of ethylene glycol poisoning. Death is the usual outcome,2 but the survival rate has improved with vigorous treatment of metabolic acidosis with hemodialysis3 and competitive inhibition with alcohol administered parenterally.4

The present case is unique; despite 50 days of oliguria, during which time the patient had hemodialysis repeatedly, renal function recovered sufficiently so that her only treatment at time of discharge was a modified protein diet.

Patient Summary  The patient, a 65-year-old woman, was

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