UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Toxicology

Title: Hyperbaric Therapy for Hydrogen Peroxide Poisoning

Keywords: hydrogen peroxide, embolism, hyperbaric (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/11/2010 by Bryan Hayes, PharmD (Updated: 12/9/2022)
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  • Ingestion of concentrated hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) has been associated with venous and arterial gas embolic events, hemorrhagic gastritis, gastrointestinal bleeding, shock, and death.
  • Although H2O2 is generally considered a benign ingestion in low concentrations (OTC is 3%), case reports have described serious toxicity following high concentration exposures.
  • Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) has been used with success in managing patients suffering from gas embolism with and without manifestations of ischemia.
  • A recent poison center case record review confirmed previous findings.
    • It identified 11 cases of portal gas embolism. In 10 cases 35% H2O2 was ingested and in 1 case 12% H2O2 was ingested. All abdominal CT scans demonstrated portal venous gas embolism in all cases. Hyperbaric treatment was successful in completely resolving all portal venous gas bubbles in nine patients (80%) and nearly resolving them in two others. Ten patients were able to be discharged home within 1 day, and one patient had a 3.5-day length of stay.
  • Bottom Line: In a patient with a history of hydrogen peroxide ingestion, have a low threshold for CT scan.  HBO therapy is an effective treatment modality.

French LK, et al. Hydrogen peroxide ingestion associated with portal venous gas and treatment with hyperbaric oxygen: a case series and review of the literature. Clinical Toxicology 2010;48:533–38.

References

French LK, et al. Hydrogen peroxide ingestion associated with portal venous gas and treatment with hyperbaric oxygen: a case series and review of the literature. Clinical Toxicology 2010;48:533–38.