AbstractBackground: Hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and carbon monoxide (CO) may be important components of smoke from fire accidents. Accordingly, patients admitted to hospital from fire accidents may have been exposed to both HCN and CO. Cyanide (CN) intoxication results in cytotoxic hypoxia leading to organ dysfunction and possibly death. While several reports support the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) for the treatment of severe CO poisoning, limited data exist on the effect of HBO during CN poisoning. HBO increases the elimination rate of CO haemoglobin in proportion to the increased oxygen partial pressure and animal experiments have shown that in rats exposed to CN intoxication, HBO can increase the concentration of CN in whole blood.Objective: The purpose of the present study was to determine whole blood CN concentrations in fire victims before and after HBO treatment.Materials and methods: The patients included were those admitted to the hospital because of CO intoxication, either as fire victims with smoke inhalation injuries or from other exposures to CO. In thirty-seven of these patients we measured CN concentrations in blood samples, using a Conway/microdiffusion technique, before and after HBO. The blood samples consisted of the remaining 2 mL from the arterial blood gas analysis. CN concentration in blood from fire victims was compared to 12 patients from non-fire accidents but otherwise also exposed to CO intoxication.Results: The mean WB-CN concentration before patients received HBO did not differ significantly between the two groups of patients (p = 0.42). The difference between WB-CN before and after HBO did not differ significantly between the two groups of patients (p = 0.7). Lactate in plasma before and after did not differ significantly between the two groups of patients. Twelve of the 25 fire patients and one of the non-fire patients had been given a dose of hydroxycobalamin before HBO.Discussion and Conclusion: CN concentrations in blood from patients admitted to hospital with CO intoxication and smoke inhalation exposure did not differ significantly from controls. Accordingly, we were not able to detect any changes in CN concentrations in blood after treatment with HBO.
Categories: Medical clinic, Toxicology