Background: Ethyl chloride (EC) or chloroethane is a colourless halogenated hydrocarbon gas regularly employed as a topical anaesthetic spray for pain-related injuries and muscle spasm in athletes. However, EC became also popular as a street drug in the 1980s. Brief inhalations of EC vapour can result in dizziness, euphoria, confusion, incoordination, hallucinosis, impairment of short-term memory and narcosis. Inhalation of higher doses, usually employed to “get high”, may be related to severe depression of the central nervous system. Indeed, toxicity and deaths have been reported so far. Case presentation: A 40-year-old man was found unresponsive after EC inhalation. EC determination was performed by dynamic headspace gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. EC was detected in the peripheral blood (0.156 g/L), central blood concentration (0.203 g/L) and the lung and brain (19 and 25 mg/kg). EC in the vitreous humour showed a sensitively lower respect to blood (0.018 vs 0.203 g/L). Conclusions: Considering the results of toxicological analyses of investigations on the death scene besides the absence of any signs of trauma, death was attributed to inhalation of ethyl chloride.

Is old stuff back? A fatal case of ethyl chloride sniffing

Fais P.;
2019

Abstract

Background: Ethyl chloride (EC) or chloroethane is a colourless halogenated hydrocarbon gas regularly employed as a topical anaesthetic spray for pain-related injuries and muscle spasm in athletes. However, EC became also popular as a street drug in the 1980s. Brief inhalations of EC vapour can result in dizziness, euphoria, confusion, incoordination, hallucinosis, impairment of short-term memory and narcosis. Inhalation of higher doses, usually employed to “get high”, may be related to severe depression of the central nervous system. Indeed, toxicity and deaths have been reported so far. Case presentation: A 40-year-old man was found unresponsive after EC inhalation. EC determination was performed by dynamic headspace gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. EC was detected in the peripheral blood (0.156 g/L), central blood concentration (0.203 g/L) and the lung and brain (19 and 25 mg/kg). EC in the vitreous humour showed a sensitively lower respect to blood (0.018 vs 0.203 g/L). Conclusions: Considering the results of toxicological analyses of investigations on the death scene besides the absence of any signs of trauma, death was attributed to inhalation of ethyl chloride.
Pascali J.P.; Fais P.; Viel G.; Cecchetto G.; Montisci M.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
s41935-019-0136-4.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipo: Versione (PDF) editoriale
Licenza: Licenza per Accesso Aperto. Creative Commons Attribuzione (CCBY)
Dimensione 377.11 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
377.11 kB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/736746
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 2
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 3
social impact