Empiric Treatment of Cyanide Toxicity in an Enclosed-Space Fire Survivor

Published:April 02, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jen.2014.02.003
      Cyanide is a chemical compound that contains a cyano group—a carbon molecule that shares a triple bond with a nitrogen molecule. It can exist as a salt, liquid, or gas, and it is sometimes identified as having a bitter almond smell but may also be odorless. Cyanide is one of the most rapidly acting and deadly poisons, and signs and symptoms of cyanide toxicity can manifest within seconds to minutes depending on the route and duration of exposure. Sources of cyanide include insecticides, jewelry cleaners, fruit seed pits, cigarette smoke, automobile exhaust, smoke inhalation in enclosed-space fires, and medications such as sodium nitroprusside.
      • Hamel J
      A review of acute cyanide poisoning with a treatment update.
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      David Dinh is Postgraduate Year 2 Critical Care Pharmacy Resident, Christiana Care Health System, Newark, DE.


      Jamie M. Rosini is Clinical Pharmacist, Emergency Medicine, Christiana Care Health System, Newark, DE.