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Secondary Methemoglobinemia due to the Adulteration of Fish with Sodium Nitrite

Ann Intern Med. 1962;57(5):800-803. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-57-5-800
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Secondary methemoglobinemia is a clinical entity that has been manifested in a wide variety of unusual circumstances (1-13). This rather dramatic syndrome has again appeared, the vehicle this time being fish adulterated with sodium nitrite in an attempt to mask or prevent spoilage.


CASE 1: On March 24, 1959, at 7:46 PM, 2 brothers, 3 and 6 years of age, were brought to the emergency department of The Cooper Hospital, Camden. Patient 1, a 3-year-old boy, was dead on arrival. On examination, he appeared to be quite cyanotic, and there was no detectable evidence of life. When an


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