Volume 25
Number 3
Jul 2017
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Case Reports
H. Vos, M. Luinstra, R. Pauw

Formalin is an aqueous solution with formaldehyde, a colourless,
water-soluble gas. Usually formalin contains methanol as a
stabilising agent. The solution is often used as a disinfecting
agent. A 85-year-old woman was admitted to the emergency
department with altered levels of consciousness after she
accidentally drank formaldehyde cleaning detergent. She was
treated with intravenous folinic acid in order to increase the
elimination rate of formic acid. However, she rapidly developed
signs of shock with multi-organ failure requiring symptomatic
treatment, including intubation, supportive vasopressor
treatment and renal replacement therapy, and recovered with
time and intensive treatment. The literature suggests that
intoxication with formalin is fatal. We present a case of an
elderly lady surviving a severe illness caused by a moderate
formalin intoxication.

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