Brain hemorrhage associated with methanol poisoning

P T Phang, L Passerini, B Mielke, R Berendt, E G King
Critical Care Medicine 1988, 16 (2): 137-40
We recently treated seven patients who were victims of accidental methanol intoxication. Five of the seven patients died within 72 h of hospital admission. The two survivors were discharged from the hospital without visual or neurologic impairment. Hemorrhagic necrosis of the brain was found on CT scan and at autopsy in two patients who died. This complication of methanol intoxication prompted us to review our experience with this poison since 1980. Of 45 methanol intoxication patients treated in our ICU, CT scan was performed in 21, and brain hemorrhage was documented in six, thereby giving an incidence of at least six of 45 or 13.5%. Although hemorrhagic and nonhemorrhagic putamenal necrosis has been described from methanol poisoning previously, we postulate that heparinization during hemodialysis may contribute to brain hemorrhage complicating methanol poisoning and recommend the use of artificial kidneys with albumin-primed biocompatible membranes so that heparin administration during hemodialysis can be minimized.

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