Nitrite poisoning brain anoxia

Because of its antiseptic properties, the ability to control oxidation of lipids, but also because it gives flavor and color to meat products, nitrites (mainly in the form of sodium nitrite) are used for various industrial and agricultural purposes [1]. In high amounts, however, this substance can be highly toxic for humans and nitrite poisoning can occur through accidental ingestion of contaminated food and water, or through inhalation of amyl nitrite for recreational purposes [2] [3]. The onset of symptoms is approximately 60 minutes and include dizziness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and profound cyanosis [2].

Methemoglobinemia, a condition in which hemoglobin is replaced by methemoglobin that is unable to bind oxygen, is the main cause of symptoms seen in nitrite poisoning and can lead to tachycardia, loss of consciousness and even coma [2] [4].Brain anoxia the diagnosis can be made by obtaining a detailed personal history that can reveal the source of poisoning, but rapid and profound cyanosis without an apparent cause is highly suspective of nitrite poisoning [3]. Immediate intravenous administration of methylene blue is the mainstay of therapy and the prognosis can be fatal in the setting of profound methemoglobinemia [5].

Nitrites are compounds used for preservation of certain food products, such as meat and fish, primarily because of their antimicrobial properties. They are rarely found in concentrations high enough to cause toxicity, but accidental ingestion of water or food containing very high amounts of this inorganic substance is the most frequent mode of poisoning.Brain anoxia namely, nitrites induce conversion of hemoglobin to methemoglobin, which is unable to bind oxygen, resulting in the appearance of severe and life-threatening symptoms. Nausea, vomiting, dizziness and extreme fatigue develop within three hours after nitrites are introduced into the body, followed by the onset of profound cyanosis – marked bluish-to-purple discoloration of lips, fingers and nails due to absence of oxygen. In severe cases, lack of oxygen in tissues can cause coma and even death. For this reason, prompt recognition of the disease is mandatory. Nitrite poisoning is distinguished by the appearance of cyanosis that is not improving after supplementation with oxygen and by observing a brown to chocolate color of blood when drawing samples for testing.Brain anoxia treatment includes immediate intravenous administration of methylene blue, which enables conversion of methemoglobin back to hemoglobin.

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brain anoxia

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