Acquired Methemoglobinaemia

Adil Al-Lawati, Nick Murch

Abstract


Acquired methemoglobinaemia is a relatively rare condition and, therefore infrequently encountered in acute medical practice. Suspicion of the condition may be triggered when the measured PaO2 is ‘out of keeping’ with the oxygen saturations that are discovered with pulse oximetry. We describe two separate cases of acquired methemoglobinaemia secondary to the recreational use of alkyl nitrites (’poppers’). The patients presented at separate times to two different teaching hospitals in London, UK. The similarity of these cases has led the authors to conclude that a raised awareness of this potentially fatal condition, and its association with a widely-available recreational drug, is necessary to ensure a correct and timely diagnosis.



Keywords


Methaemoglobinaemia; Methylene blue; Case report; UK.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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