Tag Archives: methanol toxicity

Methanol Poisoning Leading to Brain Death: A Case Report

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0039

Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has put increased stress on medical systems, infrastructure, and the public in expected and unexpected ways. This case report summarises an unexpected case of methanol poisoning from hand sanitiser ingestion due to changes in industry regulations, increased demand for cleaning products and severe psychosocial stressors brought on by the pandemic. Severe methanol toxicity results in profound metabolic disturbances, damage to the retina and optic nerves, and potentially death.
Case Presentation: The patient was a 26-year-old male with alcohol use disorder who presented with one day of nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain after consuming hand sanitiser. Within a few hours, the patient had suffered multiple seizures, cardiac arrests and required admission to the ICU for emergent management of methanol poisoning. EEG and brain perfusion imaging were performed to confirm brain death, given concerns about the cranial nerve exam after methanol poisoning.
Conclusions: While rare, methanol toxicity remains a potentially fatal poisoning in the United States and worldwide. When healthcare and public resources are strained, healthcare professionals must consider particularly abnormal presentations. In patients suspected of brain death from methanol toxicity, cranial nerve examination may be unreliable. Therefore, additional testing is necessary to confirm brain death.

Full text: PDF