FRANK V. MESSINA, M.D.; JAMES W. WYNNE, M.D.
Nitrous oxide, a common anesthetic gas, is produced by the combustion of ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3). Extensive commercial purification removes toxic by-products such as ammonia and oxides of nitrogen, principally nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Rarely does the purification fail (1). We report a patient who had acute pulmonary toxicity after inhaling homemade nitrous oxide containing high levels of nitrogen dioxide. To our knowledge, a similar case has not been reported.
A 20-year-old white man with a 3-day history of dyspnea, chills, pleuritic chest pain, wheezing, and coughing mucoid sputum came to the emergency room of Shands Teaching Hospital.
MESSINA FV, WYNNE JW. Homemade Nitrous Oxide: No Laughing Matter. Ann Intern Med. ;96:333–334. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-96-3-333
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1982;96(3):333-334.
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