Sulfuric acid ingestion: may the severity of the metabolic acidosis be considered as a predictive sign of late damage to the gastrointestinal tract?
  • Elisa Mastrodicasa
    Intensive Care Unit, Helora Site Costantinople et Warquinies, Mons, Belgium


Caustic and sulfuric products ingestion, metabolic acidosis, anion gap, gastric lesions


Introduction: Caustic substances ingestion results in a complex syndrome. The patient characteristics and severity of injury are important prognostic predictors. The monitoring of clinical changes and the multidisciplinary approach are necessary to prevent death in the early stages of the poisoning.
Case description: The case report describes the suicide of a woman by ingestion of a large amount of 15% sulfuric acid for suicidal purposes (15–20 ml). The initial conditions were stable, and no changes were found on a CT scan. However, the main sign was a severe metabolic acidosis. After 7 hours, haematemesis and oedema of the larynx appeared, and oro-tracheal intubation and ICU admission were necessary. Consequent progressive haemodynamic deterioration with persistent severe metabolic acidosis, increasing lactates and septic shock appeared. A new CT scan with contrast was performed 22 hours later detecting diffuse perforations and liquid in pleurae and abdomen. A pleural sample showed necrotic liquid. The death was 24 hours after ingestion and no surgical treatment was performed because of the diffuse lesions to the thoracoabdominal districts.
Conclusions: Early detection of gastroenteric lesions and the monitoring of clinical changes are mandatory to avoid the death of the patient. Gastroenteric perforations require an immediate radiological evaluation and surgical treatment. The clinical case report states the severity of prognosis was related to high doses of sulfuric acid ingestion. The immediate metabolic acidosis is related to quick subsequent severe systemic pathological lesions of the gastrointestinal tract. The severity of absorption metabolic acidosis, consequently, may be an early and prognostic sign of the late chest and abdominal lesions.



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    Published: 2024-04-09
    Issue: 2024: Vol 11 No 5 (view)

    How to cite:
    Mastrodicasa E. Sulfuric acid ingestion: may the severity of the metabolic acidosis be considered as a predictive sign of late damage to the gastrointestinal tract?. EJCRIM 2024;11 doi:10.12890/2024_004437.