Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock
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PRACTITIONER SECTION
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 378-384

Managing aluminum phosphide poisonings


Department of Critical Care Medicine, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), Lucknow, UP, India

Correspondence Address:
Mohan Gurjar
Department of Critical Care Medicine, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), Lucknow, UP
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0974-2700.83868

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Aluminum phosphide (AlP) is a cheap, effective and commonly used pesticide. However, unfortunately, it is now one of the most common causes of poisoning among agricultural pesticides. It liberates lethal phosphine gas when it comes in contact either with atmospheric moisture or with hydrochloric acid in the stomach. The mechanism of toxicity includes cellular hypoxia due to the effect on mitochondria, inhibition of cytochrome C oxidase and formation of highly reactive hydroxyl radicals. The signs and symptoms are nonspecific and instantaneous. The toxicity of AlP particularly affects the cardiac and vascular tissues, which manifest as profound and refractory hypotension, congestive heart failure and electrocardiographic abnormalities. The diagnosis of AlP usually depends on clinical suspicion or history, but can be made easily by the simple silver nitrate test on gastric content or on breath. Due to no known specific antidote, management remains primarily supportive care. Early arrival, resuscitation, diagnosis, decrease the exposure of poison (by gastric lavage with KMnO 4 , coconut oil), intensive monitoring and supportive therapy may result in good outcome. Prompt and adequate cardiovascular support is important and core in the management to attain adequate tissue perfusion, oxygenation and physiologic metabolic milieu compatible with life until the tissue poison levels are reduced and spontaneous circulation is restored. In most of the studies, poor prognostic factors were presence of acidosis and shock. The overall outcome improved in the last decade due to better and advanced intensive care management.


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