Ethylene glycol

Definition 
Poisoning caused by ingestion of ethylene glycol.

Where Found 

Antifreeze
Note: This list may not be all inclusive.

Symptoms 

     
  • Body as a whole       o Blood in urine       o No urine output       o Weakness       o Fatigue       o Convulsions  
  • Rapid breathing  
  • Blue lips and fingernails  
  • Nausea and/or vomiting  
  • Heart and blood vessels       o Rapid heartbeat       o Low or high blood pressure  
  • Nervous system       o Headache       o Slurred speech       o Unsteady gait       o Stupor       o Unconsciousness

Home Treatment 

There is no home treatment. Use standard first-aid and CPR for signs of shock or cardiac arrest.

Contact your local emergency number (such as 911) or Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) immediately.

Before Calling Emergency 
Determine the following information:

     
  • The patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • The name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)  
  • The time it was swallowed  
  • The amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number 

The Poison Control or local emergency telephone representative will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. The national Poison Control hotline can be reached at 1-800-222-1222.

Take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room 
Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

     
  • Use of gastric lavage  
  • Administration of an antidote (ethanol or fomepizole)  
  • Dialysis  
  • Treatment of symptoms

Expectations (prognosis) 
Death may occur within the first 24 hours. If patient survives, there may be little or no urine output for several weeks before the kidneys recover. Any brain damage may be permanent.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 7, 2012
by Sharon M. Smith, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.