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Utility of the APACHE II score as a neurological prognostic factor for glufosinate-intoxicated patients with alert mental status
Rok Lee, Tae Yong Shin, Hyung Jun Moon, Hyun Jung Lee, Dongkil Jeong, Dongwook Lee, Sun In Hong, Hyun Joon Kim
J Korean Soc Clin Toxicol. 2023;21(2):135-142.   Published online December 29, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.22537/jksct.2023.00018
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Purpose: In patients with glufosinate poisoning, severe neurological symptoms may be closely related to a poor prognosis, but their appearance may be delayed. Therefore, this study aimed to determine whether the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) score could predict the neurological prognosis in patients with glufosinate poisoning who present to the emergency room with alert mental status.
Methods
This study was conducted retrospectively through a chart review for patients over 18 years who presented to a single emergency medical center from January 2018 to December 2022 due to glufosinate poisoning. Patients were divided into groups with a good neurological prognosis (Cerebral Performance Category [CPC] Scale 1 or 2) and a poor prognosis (CPC Scale 3, 4, or 5) to identify whether any variables showed significant differences between the two groups.
Results
There were 66 patients (67.3%) with good neurological prognoses and 32 (32.8%) with poor prognoses. In the multivariate logistic analysis, the APACHE II score, serum amylase, and co-ingestion of alcohol showed significant results, with odds ratios of 1.387 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.027–1.844), 1.017 (95% CI, 1.002–1.032), and 0.196 (95% CI, 0.040–0.948), respectively. With an APACHE II score cutoff of 6.5, the AUC was 0.826 (95% CI, 0.746–0.912). The cutoff of serum amylase was 75.5 U/L, with an AUC was 0.761 (95% CI, 0.652–0.844), and the AUC of no co-ingestion with alcohol was 0.629 (95% CI, 0.527–0.722).
Conclusion
The APACHE II score could be a useful indicator for predicting the neurological prognosis of patients with glufosinate poisoning who have alert mental status.
Changes in the characteristics of acute carbon monoxide poisoning patients who visited the emergency department during the COVID-19 pandemic
Jun bo Sim, Tae kyu Ahn, Hyun Kim
J Korean Soc Clin Toxicol. 2023;21(2):108-116.   Published online December 29, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.22537/jksct.2023.00008
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Purpose: This study investigated the differences between patients with acute carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning who visited the emergency department (ED) before and during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Methods
This was a single-center retrospective observational study. Patients with CO poisoning who visited the ED during the period from February 2020 to January 2023 were classified as the COVID-19 pandemic group, and those from February 2019 to January 2020 were classified as the non-pandemic group. Patients’ medical records were reviewed, their demographic and clinical characteristics were compared, and the length of stay in ED was checked. The time from admission to the ED to the start of hyperbaric oxygenation (HBO) was defined as the door-to-HBO time, and this parameter was compared between both groups.
Results
In total, 672 patients were included in this study. The proportion of intentional poisoning was significantly higher in the COVID-19 pandemic group than in the non-pandemic group (p=0.028). The proportion of intentional poisoning significantly increased in the 20- to 29-year-old age group during the COVID-19 pandemic (p<0.001). In addition, it took longer to initiate HBO in the COVID-19 pandemic group than in the non-pandemic group (p=0.001).
Conclusion
These findings suggest that pandemics of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, increase the proportion of intentional CO poisoning, and it may take longer to initiate HBO after visiting the ED. Efforts will be needed to decrease intentional CO poisoning and length of stay in ED.
Association between continuous renal replacement therapy and mortality after acute herbicide (glyphosate and/or glufosinate) intoxication: propensity score matching approach
Seung Woo Lee, Won-joon Jeong, Seung Ryu, Yongchul Cho, Yeonho You, Jung Soo Park, Changshin Kang, Hong Joon Ahn, So Young Jeon, Jinwoong Lee
J Korean Soc Clin Toxicol. 2023;21(1):17-23.   Published online June 30, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.22537/jksct.2023.00001
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Purpose: We investigated the association between continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) and mortality after acute glyphosate or glufosinate intoxication.
Methods
The electronic medical records of patients with acute herbicide ingestion who were admitted to the regional emergency center of a metropolitan city in Korea from 3/1/2013 to 2/28/2022 were analyzed and reviewed retrospectively. The case group received CRRT, while the control group did not. In total, 96 patients experienced acute herbicide intoxication in the study period. Baseline characteristics were analyzed and compared between the two groups after propensity score matching. The outcome variable was mortality fitted by a Cox proportional hazard model.
Results
After full matching between cases of CRRT use and controls (patients who did not receive CRRT) using propensity scores, 96 patients (27 cases, 69 controls) were analyzed. Propensity matching yielded adequate balance (standardized mean differences <0.25) for all covariates. We fit a Cox proportional hazards model with survival as the outcome and CRRT as a factor, including the matching weights in the estimation. The estimated hazard ratio was 0.41 (95% confidence interval, 0.23–0.76; p=0.0044), indicating that CRRT reduced mortality.
Conclusion
In this propensity score-matched analysis, CRRT reduced mortality in patients who visited the hospital with acute glyphosate or glufosinate intoxication. In patients with acute herbicide poisoning with high severity calculated by the APACHE II (Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II) score and SOFA (Sequential Organ Failure Assessment) score, CRRT should be actively considered to improve the survival rate.
Up-to-date treatment of acetaminophen poisoning
Phil Chung Sung, Moon Jeongmi, Chun Byeongjo
J Korean Soc Clin Toxicol. 2022;20(2):39-44.   Published online December 31, 2022
DOI: https://doi.org/10.22537/jksct.2022.20.2.39
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AbstractAbstract PDF
N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is the standard antidote treatment for preventing hepatotoxicity caused by acetaminophen (AAP) poisoning. This review summarizes the recent evidence for the treatment of AAP poisoning. Several alternative intravenous regimens of NAC have been suggested to improve patient safety by reducing adverse drug reactions and medication errors. A two-bag NAC infusion regimen (200 mg/kg over 4 h, followed by 100 mg/kg over 16 h) is reported to have similar efficacy with significantly reduced adverse reactions compared to the traditional 3-bag regimen. Massive AAP poisoning due to high concentrations (more than 300-lines in the nomogram) needs to be managed with an increased maintenance dose of NAC. In addition to NAC, the combination therapy of hemodialysis and fomepizole is advocated for severe AAP poisoning cases. In the case of a patient presenting with an altered mental status, metabolic acidosis, elevated lactate, and an AAP concentration greater than 900 mg/L, hemodialysis is recommended even if NAC is used. Fomepizole decreases the generation of toxic metabolites by inhibiting CYP2E1 and may be considered an off-label use by experienced clinicians. Since the nomogram cannot be applied to sustained-release AAP formulations, all potentially toxic sustained-release AAP overdoses should receive a full course of NAC regimen. In case of ingesting less than the toxic dose, the AAP concentration is tested twice at an interval of 4 h or more; NAC should be administered if either value is above the 150-line of the nomogram.
Availability of urine toxicologic screening tests in the emergency department: focused on illegal drugs
Se Kyu Lee, Sangchun Choi
J Korean Soc Clin Toxicol. 2021;19(1):24-30.   Published online June 30, 2021
DOI: https://doi.org/10.22537/jksct.2021.19.1.24
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Purpose: In Korea, it is predicted that the proportion of drug abusers among patients visiting the emergency room will soon increase. Several emergency medical institutions in Korea are conducting field urine screening tests for poisoning. In this study, we investigated the characteristics and usefulness of urine toxicology screening tests. Methods: The medical records of patients with positive results for tetrahydrocannabinol and methamphetamine from urine toxicology screening tests at a tertiary university hospital from August 2016 to August 2019 were reviewed retrospectively. The subjects were classified into positive and false-positive groups, and their clinical characteristics were compared and analyzed. Results: Of the 2,026 patients surveyed, 823 patients (40.6%) tested positive for one or more drugs. Among them, 12 cases (0.6%) were positive for methamphetamine and 40 cases (2.0%) were positive for tetrahydrocannabinol. The positive and the false-positive rates for methamphetamine were 66.7% and 33.3%, respectively. The positive and the false-positive rates for tetrahydrocannabinol were 2.5% and 97.5%, respectively. Conclusion: Methamphetamine showed a relatively low false-positive rate in our study. Therefore, this test seemed to assist in diagnosing methamphetamine poisoning when considered together with the present illness and physical examination results. On the other hand, the high false-positive rate for tetrahydrocannabinol tests indicates that this test was unlikely to assist in diagnosing tetrahydrocannabinol poisoning. However, considering the growing trend of illegal drug abusers in Korea, it may still be useful as a diagnostic tool for identifying drug users.
Systematic review for economic benefit of poison control center
Eunah Han, Hyuna Hwang, Gina Yu, Dong Ryul Ko, Taeyoung Kong, Je Sung You, Minhong Choa, Sung Phil Chung
J Korean Soc Clin Toxicol. 2021;19(1):1-7.   Published online June 30, 2021
DOI: https://doi.org/10.22537/jksct.2021.19.1.1
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review to investigate the socio-economic benefits of the poison control center (PCC) and to assess whether telephone counseling at the poison control center affects the frequency of emergency room visits, hospitalization, and length of stay of patients with acute poisoning. Methods: The authors conducted a medical literature search of the PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases. Two reviewers evaluated the abstracts for eligibility, extracted the data, and assessed the study quality using a standardized tool. Key results such as the cost-benefit ratio, hospital stay days, unnecessary emergency room visits or hospitalizations, and reduced hospital charges were extracted from the studies. When meta-analysis was possible, it was performed using RevMan software (RevMan version 5.4). Results: Among 299 non-duplicated studies, 19 were relevant to the study questions. The cost-benefit ratios of PCC showed a wide range from 0.76 to 36 (average 6.8) according to the level of the medical expense of each country and whether the study included intentional poisoning. PCC reduced unnecessary visits to healthcare facilities. PCC consultation shortened the length of hospital stay by 1.82 (95% CI, 1.07-2.57) days. Conclusion: The systematic review and meta-analysis support the hypothesis that the PCC operation is cost-beneficial. However, when implementing the PCC concept in Korea in the future, it is necessary to prepare an institutional framework to ensure a costeffective model.

Citations

Citations to this article as recorded by  
  • 2022 Annual Report of the Seoul Poison Control Center
    Yo Han Shin, Sijin Lee, Su Jin Kim, Young Hoon Yoon, Sung Woo Lee
    Journal of The Korean Society of Clinical Toxicology.2023; 21(1): 39.     CrossRef
Factors of Determining N-acetylcysteine Administration in Patients with Acute Acetaminophen Poisoning
Jeong Hwa Lee, Sangchun Choi, Sang Kyu Yoon, Kyu Cheol Shin
J Korean Soc Clin Toxicol. 2020;18(2):78-84.   Published online December 31, 2020
DOI: https://doi.org/10.22537/jksct.2020.18.2.78
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Purpose: In acute acetaminophen poisoning, the administration of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) can effectively treat the main complications, such as kidney injury and liver failure. In the current situation, measurements of the acetaminophen concentration are not checked in the usual medical facilities. Therefore, this study examined the factors of determining the administration of NAC in addition to the stated amount of intake. Methods: The medical records of patients who visited Ajou University Hospital emergency center with acetaminophen poisoning from January 2015 to December 2019 were reviewed retrospectively. One hundred and seventy-nine patients were initially included. Among these patients, 82 patients were finally selected according to the inclusion criteria in the study. The inclusion criteria were as follows: patients who were 15 years of age or older; those whose ingested dose, ingested time, and body weight were clearly identified; and patients whose acetaminophen sampling time was within 24 hours. Patients were divided into two groups: NAC administered vs. non-NAC administered. The following variables were compared in these two groups: ingested dose, ingested dose per body weight, hospital arrival time after ingestion, suicide attempt history, psychiatric disease history, classification of toxic/non-toxic groups, duration of hospitalization, and laboratory results. Results: Univariate analysis revealed the ingested dose per body weight, hospital arrival time after ingestion, suicide attempt history, and psychiatric disease history to be the determining factors in administering NAC. Logistic regression analysis confirmed that the ingested dose per body weight was the only significant factor leading to an NAC treatment decision. (Odds ratio=1.039, 95% Confidential interval=1.009-1.070, p=0.009) Conclusion: The ingested dose per body weight was the only determining factor for administering NAC in patients with acute acetaminophen poisoning. On the other hand, additional criteria or indicators for the NAC administration decision will be necessary considering the inaccuracy of the ingested dose per body weight and the efficiency of NAC administration.
QTc Prolongation due to Psychotropic Drugs Intoxication and Its Risk Assessment
Kwan Ho Park, Hoon Pyo Hong, Jong Seok Lee, Ki Young Jeong, Seok Hun Ko, Sung Kyu Kim, Han Sung Choi
J Korean Soc Clin Toxicol. 2020;18(2):66-77.   Published online December 31, 2020
DOI: https://doi.org/10.22537/jksct.2020.18.2.66
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Purpose: The aims of the present study were twofold. First, the research investigated the effect of an individual's risk factors and the prevalence of psychotropic drugs on QTc prolongation, TdP (torsades de pointes), and death. Second, the study compared the risk scoring systems (the Mayo Pro-QT risk score and the Tisadale risk score) on QTc prolongation. Methods: The medical records of intoxicated patients who visited the emergency department between March 2010 and February 2019 were reviewed retrospectively. Among 733 patients, the present study included 426 psychotropic drug-intoxicated patients. The patients were categorized according to the QTc value. The known risk factors of QTc prolongation were examined, and the Mayo Pro-QT risk score and the Tisadale risk score were calculated. The analysis was performed using multiple logistic regression, Spearman correlation, and ROC (receiver operating characteristic). Results: The numbers in the mild to moderate group (male: 470≤QTc<500 ms, female: 480≤QTc<500 ms) and severe group (QTc≥500 ms or increase of QTc at least 60ms from baseline, both sex) were 68 and 95, respectively. TdP did not occur, and the only cause of death was aspiration pneumonia. The statically significant risk factors were multidrug intoxications of TCA (tricyclic antidepressant), atypical antipsychotics, an atypical antidepressant, panic disorder, and hypokalemia. The Tisadale risk score was larger than the Mayo Pro-QT risk score. Conclusion: Multiple psychotropic drugs intoxication (TCA, an atypical antidepressant, and atypical antipsychotics), panic disorder, and hypokalemia have been proven to be the main risk factors of QTc prolongation, which require enhanced attention. The present study showed that the Tisadale score had a stronger correlation and predictive accuracy for QTc prolongation than the Mayo Pro-QT score. As a result, the Tisadale risk score is a crucial assessment tool for psychotropic drug-intoxicated patients in a clinical setting.
Acute Nicotine Poisoning due to Electronic Cigarette Liquid: Systematic Review of Case Reports
Si Yong Yang, Min Hong Choa, Je Sung You, Hyun Soo Chung, Sung Phil Chung
J Korean Soc Clin Toxicol. 2020;18(2):51-56.   Published online December 31, 2020
DOI: https://doi.org/10.22537/jksct.2020.18.2.51
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Purpose: Acute nicotine poisoning by liquid nicotine in electronic cigarettes is becoming an increasing problem worldwide. The current systematic review aimed to determine the harm of acute nicotine poisoning by reviewing published case reports. Methods: An online literature search with PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and KoreaMed database was performed to identify relevant studies addressing acute nicotine poisoning with electronic cigarettes. Two investigators searched the case reports written in English or Korean. Results: Twenty-six cases were included in this study. The routes of intoxication included ingestion in 18 cases, intravenous injection in three cases, subcutaneous injection in two cases, and ocular exposure in two cases. Ten cases had a cardiac arrest, and seven of them died. Seven out of 12 cases with intentional poisoning had a cardiac arrest. Nine children under 18 years were reported, and three of them had a cardiac arrest. Sixteen cases without a cardiac arrest recovered well, except for one case with sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Conclusion: The authors reviewed the risks of electronic cigarette liquid in terms of acute poisoning through a systematic review. The nicotine solution of an e-cigarette can be life-threatening in cases of acute poisoning. Therefore, active emergency treatment with early recognition is necessary. In addition, various management methods and regulations for preventing acute nicotine poisoning, such as restriction of distribution and nicotine concentration, should be considered.

Citations

Citations to this article as recorded by  
  • Electronic Nicotine, Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems, and Liquid Use by Flavoring and Nicotine Concentrations
    Yeun Soo Yang, Hyeon Jeong Lim, Unchong Kim, Kyoungin Na, Heejin Kimm
    Journal of the Korean Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.2023; 14(3): 101.     CrossRef
Severe Case of Hypermagnesemia Caused by Ingesting Magnesium Containing Fertilizer
Ka-young Lee, Jin-young Yu, Nam-Jun Cho, Samel Park, Eun-young Lee, Hyo-Wook Gil
J Korean Soc Clin Toxicol. 2020;18(2):141-144.   Published online December 31, 2020
DOI: https://doi.org/10.22537/jksct.2020.18.2.141
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Hypermagnesemia is a rare condition that is usually iatrogenic in patients with elderly or renal failure. Severe hypermagnesemia is uncommon in patients with a normal renal function. Symptoms due to hypermagnesemia can range from mild symptoms, such as nausea, to severe symptoms, such as cardiac and respiratory arrest. This paper describes a case of a 49-year-old woman who ingested a magnesium-containing fertilizer with normal renal function. Cardiac arrest occurred eight hours after poisoning. Electrocardiography changed from a narrow QRS to a wide QRS and then to a complete atrioventricular block. Her hemodynamic state was unstable. Continuous renal replacement therapy was performed to remove magnesium from the blood, with the subsequent resolution of arrhythmia and hemodynamic stabilization. This paper reviews the pathophysiologic effects of magnesium on the cardiovascular system, clinical manifestation, and treatment of hypermagnesemia.
Analysis of Factors Affecting the Hospitalization of Patients Visited the Emergency Department after Deliberate Self-poisoning
Woo Sik Noh, Hye Jin Kim
J Korean Soc Clin Toxicol. 2020;18(2):102-109.   Published online December 31, 2020
DOI: https://doi.org/10.22537/jksct.2020.18.2.102
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Purpose: This study examined factors associated with the hospitalization of patients who visited the emergency department (ED) after deliberate self-poisoning. Methods: The medical records of the patients, who visited the ED at a tertiary teaching hospital after deliberate self-poisoning between March 2017 and December 2019, were reviewed retrospectively. Results: Fifty-seven in the hospitalization and 236 in the discharge group patients were included. The mean age in the hospitalization and discharge group was 48.8±20.4 and 41.8±19.1, respectively (p=0.020). Univariate analysis revealed statistically significant differences in age (p=0.020), mental status (p<0.001), request for help (p=0.046), chronic disease (p=0.036), substance ingested (p<0.001), and risk rescue-rating scale (p<0.001) between the two groups (hospitalization group and discharge group). In multiple logistic regression analysis for predicting the hospitalization of patients after deliberate self-poisoning, the Risk-Rescue Rating Scale (RRRS) was identified (OR=1.493, 95% confidential interval=1.330-1.675, p<0.001). Receiver operating characteristics analysis of RRRS for the decision to hospitalize showed a cut-off value of 38.9, with a sensitivity, specificity, and area under the curve of 96.4%, 77.0%, and 0.949, respectively. Conclusion: The RRRS can be used to determine the hospitalization for patients who visited the ED after deliberate self-poisoning. Nevertheless, multicenter prospective studies will be needed to determine the generalisability of these results.
Errors of Death Certificate for Poisoning Related Death
Chan Hyeok Park, Sun Hyu Kim
J Korean Soc Clin Toxicol. 2020;18(1):11-17.   Published online June 30, 2020
DOI: https://doi.org/10.22537/jksct.2020.18.1.11
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Purpose: This study examines errors in death certificates (DCs) issued to cases of poisoning. Methods: DCs issued in poisoning cases were retrospectively reviewed. Errors in the DC were classified as major and minor errors, and were evaluated in accordance with their impact on the process of selecting the cause of death (COD). Results: A total of 79 DCs were evaluated; 43 (54.4%) DCs were issued in the emergency department (ED), and 36 (45.6%) DCs were issued outside the ED. The average major and minor errors per DC were determined to be 0.4 and 3.3, respectively. Moreover, an average of 3.0 errors were discovered in DCs issued at the ED, and 4.4 errors in DCs issued outside the ED. The most common major errors were incorrect manner of death (11.4%, 9/79), followed by unacceptable COD (7.6%, 6/79), and the mode of dying as an underlying COD (5.1%, 4/79). The common minor errors most frequently encountered were incorrect time interval (86.1%, 68/79), followed by incorrect other significant conditions (73.4%, 58/79), and no record for date of onset (62.0%, 49/79). Conclusion: Our results indicate that the total numbers of major errors, minor errors and cases of misjudged cause of death were greater in DCs issued outside the ED than in DCs issued at the ED. The most frequently quoted major error of DCs related to poisoning was determined to be the incorrect manner of death.
Treatments of Calcium Channel Blocker Overdose
Sung Woo Lee
J Korean Soc Clin Toxicol. 2020;18(1):1-10.   Published online June 30, 2020
DOI: https://doi.org/10.22537/jksct.2020.18.1.1
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Pharmaceutical agents are the most common causes of poisoning in Korea. Calcium channel blockers (CCBs) are commonly used in Korea for the management of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases, but are associated with a risk of mortality due to overdose. Due to the frequent fatalities associated with CCB overdose, it is essential that the emergency physician is capable of identifying CCB intoxication, and has the knowledge to manage CCB overdose. This article reviews the existing clinical guidelines, retrospective studies, and systematic reviews on the emergency management of CCB overdose. The following are the varied treatments of CCB overdose currently administered. 1) For asymptomatic patients: observation with enough time and decontamination, if indicated. 2) For symptomatic patients: infusion of calcium salt, high dose insulin therapy, and vasopressor (norepinephrine) or atropine for bradycardia. 3) For patients refractory to the first line therapy or with refractory shock or impending arrest: lipid emulsion therapy and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. 4) As adjunct therapy: phosphodiesterase inhibitors, glucagon, methylene blue, pacemaker for AV block. Small CCB ingestion is known to be fatal for pediatric patients. Hence, close observation for sufficient time is required.
Systematic Review of Vitamin B12 Regimen for Patient with Subacute Combined Degeneration of the Spinal Cord Following Nitrous Oxide Abuse
Jin Seok Chung, Min Hong Choa, Sung Phil Chung, In Cheol Park
J Korean Soc Clin Toxicol. 2019;17(2):79-85.   Published online December 31, 2019
DOI: https://doi.org/10.22537/jksct.2019.17.2.79
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Purpose: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of vitamin B12 treatment in subacute combined degeneration (SCD) caused by nitrous oxide (N2O) abuse. Methods: Relevant literature was accessed through PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, and KoreaMed. All the literature that was relevant to human use of vitamin B12 treatment for SCD caused by N2O abuse was included. Case reports were excluded if the treatment regimens were not precisely described. The literature search was conducted by two investigators during September 2019 for the final publication period. The languages of the publications were restricted to English and Korean. Results: Twenty-three published articles that contained 24 cases were included. Sixteen cases among them were treated with intramuscular vitamin B12 of 1 mg/day and the rest received different doses or routes. Although most cases described significant clinical improvements, one case showed no beneficial effect due to the patient's noncooperation. Another case showed adverse events, including spinal myoclonus, following vitamin B12 therapy. Conclusion: Vitamin B12 has been broadly used for the treatment of SCD caused by N2O abuse. However, most of the relevant studies were case reports that reported various regimens of vitamin B12 administration. Further studies are needed to establish a standard regimen of vitamin B12 because the incidence of N2O abuse may increase in South Korea.
Discrepancies and Validation of Ethanol Level Determination with Osmolar Gap Formula in Patients with Suspected Acute Poisoning
Haewon Jung, Mi Jin Lee, Jae Wan Cho, Jae Yun Ahn, Changho Kim
J Korean Soc Clin Toxicol. 2019;17(2):47-57.   Published online December 31, 2019
DOI: https://doi.org/10.22537/jksct.2019.17.2.47
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Purpose: Osmolar gap (OG) has been used for decades to screen for toxic alcohol levels. However, its reliability may vary due to several reasons. We validated the estimated ethanol concentration formula for patients with suspected poisoning and who visited the emergency department. We examined discrepancies in the ethanol level and patient characteristics by applying this formula when it was used to screen for intoxication due to toxic levels of alcohol. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 153 emergency department cases to determine the measured levels of toxic ethanol ingestion and we calculated alcohol ingestion using a formula based on serum osmolality. Those patients who were subjected to simultaneous measurements of osmolality, sodium, urea, glucose, and ethanol were included in this study. Patients with exposure to other toxic alcohols (methanol, ethylene glycol, or isopropanol) or poisons that affect osmolality were excluded. OG (the measured-calculated serum osmolality) was used to determine the calculated ethanol concentration. Results: Among the 153 included cases, 114 had normal OGs (OG≤14 mOsm/kg), and 39 cases had elevated OGs (OG>14). The mean difference between the measured and estimated (calculated ethanol using OG) ethanol concentration was -9.8 mg/dL. The 95% limits of agreement were -121.1 and 101.5 mg/dL, and the correlation coefficient R was 0.7037. For the four subgroups stratified by comorbidities and poisoning, the correlation coefficients R were 0.692, 0.588, 0.835, and 0.412, respectively, and the mean differences in measurement between the measured and calculated ethanol levels were -2.4 mg/dL, -48.8 mg/dL, 9.4 mg/dL, and -4.7 mg/dL, respectively. The equation plots had wide limits of agreement. Conclusion: We found that there were some discrepancies between OGs and the calculated ethanol concentrations. Addition of a correction factor for unmeasured osmoles to the equation of the calculated serum osmolality would help mitigate these discrepancies.

JKSCT : Journal of The Korean Society of Clinical Toxicology