Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock
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CASE REPORT
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 108-109

A case report of bittern intoxication


Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, Inha University, Incheon, South Korea

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ji Hye Kim
Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, Inha University, Incheon
South Korea
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0974-2700.145426

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Bittern is made from marine water after extraction of salt, and its major components include magnesium chloride, magnesium sulfate, potassium chloride, sodium chloride and magnesium bromide. For a long time, it has been used as the main ingredient of tofu coagulant and chemical weapons. A 73-year-old woman arrived to the emergency department after a suicide attempt by drinking an unknown amount bittern. She complained of dizziness, general weakness, and altered mental state (Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) 13/15). The brain computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed no abnormality. But blood chemistry showed hypermagnesemia ([Mg 2+ ] 7.8 mEq/L) and hypernatremia ([Na + ] 149 mEq/L). Electrocardiograph showed QT prolongation of 0.482 s. Electrolyte imbalances were corrected following adequate fluid therapy and injection of calcium gluconate. The patient recovered/was subsequently discharged without any complications. Electrolyte imbalances are a common presentation following bittern poisoning. Severe side effects like respiratory depression, hypotension, arrhythmia, bradycardia, and cardiac arrest can also occur. Patients will require immediate fluid therapy and correction of electrolyte imbalances. The symptoms vary depending on the electrolyte levels. It is mandatory to closely monitor the electrolyte levels and electrocardiograph in these patients.


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