Ethylene glycol poisoning: symptoms, first aid, antidote

Ethylene glycol belongs to a group of alcohol substitutes. Its color and taste like alcohol. The use of this substance inside, even in small doses, leads to the development of poisoning, which can lead to serious consequences and death. This article describes poisoning with ethylene glycol, its causes, symptoms, possible complications. Also, we have gathered for you the basic rules of providing first aid for this condition.

The causes of poisoning

Ethylene glycol is a clear, colorless liquid. In industry it is used to manufacture brake fluid, various paints, varnishes and solvents.

Please note that ethylene glycol is toxic to the body. It has a toxic effect on the kidneys, liver, Central nervous system and heart.

Below are the main causes of ethylene glycol poisoning.

  • The use of ethylene glycol inside. It belongs to the alcohol substitutes, when taking causes intoxication and provokes severe poisoning. If you use 50 ml of this substance inside develops severe intoxication, the lethal dose is 100 ml of chemical. Often drinking ethylene glycol people suffering from severe alcohol dependence.
  • The poisoning of ethylene glycol develops when working with this substance. According to the safety standards of the premises in which workers are in contact with the glycol, should be well ventilated. As a personal protection used respirators.
  • The purchase of counterfeit alcohol. The cost of glycol is much lower ethanol. In the manufacture of "Palenque" they can breed, or even to replace ethyl. This forging beverages is punishable by criminal liability, and is equivalent to intentional murder.

Symptoms of poisoning

The use of ethylene glycol inside first develops a condition resembling alcoholic intoxication. After 1 hour, begin to show symptoms of the Central nervous system. The patient's condition is rapidly deteriorating.

Once in the body, ethylene glycol is converted into toxic compounds (glycol aldehyde, oxalic acid, etc.). The patient increases acidosis – acidification of the blood, and launches a series of cascading reactions in which there is a loss of virtually all internal structures of the body.

The clinical course of ethylene glycol poisoning is divided into several periods:

  1. The first period lasts an average of 14 hours. In the case of severe intoxication, death may occur during the first few hours. Symptoms period:
  • expressed alcoholic intoxication, increased irritability;
  • nausea and repeated vomiting, in which vomit can contain not only the remains of consumed chemical, but also the gastric juice, the bile;
  • pain throughout the abdomen, bearing acute, resembling spasms;
  • irregularity, diarrhea;
  • headache, dizziness;
  • impairment of consciousness and convulsions;
  • it may be fatal due to brain edema and respiratory failure.
  1. The second period lasts 2-3 days. Surviving patients develop severe disturbances in the functioning of most organs and systems:
  • a heart rhythm disorder;
  • a drop in blood pressure;
  • pulmonary edema is manifested by shortness of breath, cough, and shortness of breath;
  • acute heart failure;
  • toxic hepatitis;
  • acute renal failure.
  1. The third period is manifested severe renal and hepatic insufficiency. Patients who have not received necessary medical care, as a rule, do not live to this period.

First aid for the development of poisoning

At the first signs of acute ethylene glycol poisoning should immediately seek medical help. Time for independent search of hospital or treatment in a clinic there, so you should call the ambulance. If poisoned violent and aggressive, you should also call the police.

Remember that it is strictly forbidden to try to cure the patient themselves. In cases of poisoning by ethylene glycol, the patient must be qualified medical treatment to him you can not provide.

In the case of intoxication with ethylene glycol vapors should move the victim to fresh air and give him to drink warm sweet tea or water. You can also wash it with water, to calm.

Oral ethylene glycol poisoning first aid can be provided by people close to the victims. In the case of severe poisoning depends on the patient's life.

The following are the steps that you can to help a poisoned person while waiting for SMP.

Gastric lavage

This procedure is the main component of ethylene glycol oral intoxication. It should be held immediately at occurrence of the slightest signs of poisoning.

To clean the gastric cavity, the patient needs to drink a large amount of plain water of neutral temperature (about 1 litre) and induce vomiting. You can do this folk method –pressing a finger on the root of the tongue.

Cleansing the digestive cavity it is best to repeat a few times. Thus will be achieved the most effective cleansing of the stomach.

The procedure of gastric lavage has a number of contraindications, as listed below:

  • Inadequate condition of the patient staying in alcoholic intoxication. If you know what poisoned the person is not behaving properly, you cannot perform commands, don't give him anything to drink. With the defeat of ethylene glycol violated swallowing reflex, and the patient can choke on water or vomit.
  • The disturbed consciousness of the patient. This may be a stupor or coma. Patients in this state carry out the cleansing of the stomach doctors SMP using a gastric tube.
  • The appearance of dark or bloody vomit. This alarming symptom could mean the development of bleeding from damaged blood vessels of the esophagus, stomach or duodenum.
  • Failure poisoned from the procedure. People in the terminal stages of alcoholism partly lose their mental capacity. And can not adequately assess the severity of their condition.


Sorbents are drugs that should always be at hand. After gastric lavage, give the patient to drink any drug from this drug group, for example:

  • activated carbon;
  • APSCO;
  • enterosgel;
  • white coal;
  • smectite;

The dosage is calculated according to the instructions.


Try to drink plain water the patient. She's a little will remove the intoxication process and dehydration.

Treatment of poisoning

The paramedics, arrived on a call, you first examine the patient and gather medical history. Tell them what has happened, what has poisoned the victim. It is also possible to disclose the presence of allergies to some medications, and comorbidities, the names of the drugs he continually takes.

After checking the pulse, breathing rate, blood pressure levels, doctors will start rendering first aid. Its aim is to reduce intoxication and to stabilize the condition. To do this, used drips, medicines regulatory pressure and heart rate. Be organized if necessary gastric lavage through the probe.

Hospitalitynet ethylene glycol poisoned patients in the intensive care unit. There it is treated and examined in parallel.

Components of treatment include the following:

  • The introduction of the antidote is poison after a blood test by which doctors decide what to neutralize the venom in the body. The antidote for ethylene glycol is ethanol. Its a 5% solution is administered intravenously.
  • Massive IV infusions using sodium bicarbonate. They help to fight acidosis (increased blood acidity). IVS are entered under control of blood tests that determines its electrolyte composition and pH.
  • Thiamine, pyridoxine. These drugs help to remove the ethylene glycol from the body and inactivate it.
  • Diuretics (diuretics) are used very carefully, in the absence of acute renal failure. With their help, accelerating the elimination of toxins from the blood stream by the kidneys.
  • Hemodialysis is performed in nearly all cases of ethylene glycol poisoning. The patient is connected to the artificial kidney that cleans the blood of toxins and poisons and helps in eliminating acute renal failure.

The patient also actively examine and try to identify possible complications in a timely manner. Laboratory diagnosis may help physicians to select individual treatment and correct blood abnormalities.

The examination consists of:

  • the General analysis of blood;
  • General analysis of urine;
  • biochemical blood tests of renal and hepatic markers;
  • coagulation;
  • electrocardiography;
  • Toxicological studies of blood;
  • Ultrasound of internal organs;
  • determine the level of electrolytes and blood pH.

Prognosis depends on many factors, for example, alcohol chemical, timely treatment to the doctor.

Ethylene glycol is a dangerous and poisonous chemical. Use it inside with the goal of reaching the state of intoxication are often fatal. With the development of the first signs of intoxication should call an ambulance. The treatment is carried out in intensive care. It consists of the introduction of an antidote, hemodialysis, and IVS. Even when time begun treatment to save the patient's physicians is not always possible.