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September 1967

The Brain in Fatal Carbon Tetrachloride Poisoning

Author Affiliations

St. Louis
From the departments of anatomy and pathology, and the Beaumont-May Institute of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis. The present address of Dr. Luse is Department of Anatomy, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York.

Arch Neurol. 1967;17(3):304-312. doi:10.1001/archneur.1967.00470270082010

CARBON tetrachloride, one of the currently used lethal solvents, is notorious for its renal and hepatic toxicity. However, little attention has been given to its equally severe effects on the central nervous system (CNS). Stevens and Forster1 and Cohen2 have pointed out that among the earliest as well as most severe aftermaths of carbon tetrachloride poisoning are derangements of the nervous system, including headache, ataxia, vertigo, blurred vision, lethargy, coma, convulsions, optic neuritis, and polyneuritis. The similarity of carbon tetrachloride to chloroform explains its ability to produce narcosis, although severe medullary depression alone would inhibit its use even without the well known renal and hepatic toxicity.

The increased hazards of poisoning when carbon tetrachloride is used in a closed space or in conjunction with alcohol have been well publicized as have the resultant acute renal and hepatic failure. The paucity of reports on nervous system involvement

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