Methemoglobinemia in the Operating Room and Intensive Care Unit: Early Recognition, Pathophysiology, and Management.
The objectives of this review are to describe the acquired and hereditary causes of methemoglobinemia, to recommend the most sensitive diagnostic tests, and to enable critical care clinicians to rapidly detect and treat methemoglobinemia. To meet these objectives, Internet search engines were queried with the keywords to select articles for review that included case reports, case series, observational, longitudinal, and surveillance studies. The most common causes of methemoglobinemia include oxidizing reactions to cocaine-derived anesthetics, such as benzocaine and lidocaine, to antibiotics, such as dapsone and other sulfonamides, and to gases, such as nitric oxide. Additionally, CO-oximetry is superior to standard pulse oximetry in detecting methemoglobinemia. Finally, effective treatments for methemoglobinemia include intravenous administration of methylene blue, ascorbic acid, and riboflavin. In this manuscript we will discuss methemoglobinemia, how it occurs, and how to treat it.
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