Carboxyhemoglobinemia caused by inhalation of methylene chloride

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24 Scopus citations


Spray-paint inhalation, once a common and inexpensive source of drug abuse, is now rare. Newer organic solvents, such as methylene chloride, were thought to decrease the toxicity of aerosol solvents, but they carry unique toxicities of their own. Methylene chloride toxicity is difficult to diagnose, as early symptoms are similar to those associated with many intoxicants; however, a rising carboxyhemoglobin level, despite removal of the patient from the source of exposure, is pathognomonic. In dealing with industrial exposures or organic aerosol abuse, a carboxyhemoglobin level should be part of the initial diagnostic workup, and treatment with oxygen is mandatory until toxicity resolves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-51
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon monoxide
  • carboxyhemoglobinemia
  • methylene chloride
  • paint inhalation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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