n South African Medical Journal - The unsuspected killer : liquefied petroleum gas overexposure in South Africa : continuing medical education - case report




A 21-year-old woman with no past medical history of note was found unconscious together with five of her family members after prolonged exposure to liquefied petroleum gas. She was admitted to the intensive care unit at Victoria Hospital, Wynberg, Cape Town, South Africa, following resuscitation for pulseless electrical activity. On examination the following was found: coma without focal neurology; shock requiring fluid resuscitation and adrenaline; probable pneumonitis or aspiration pneumonia; acute rhabdomyolysis with severe metabolic acidosis; and raised serum K+. A carboxyhaemoglobin test was unable to confirm or exclude carbon monoxide poisoning.


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