Clinical presentations and prognostic factors of a glyphosate-surfactant herbicide intoxication: A review of 131 cases

Hsin Ling Lee, Kuan Wen Chen, Chih Hsien Chi, Jeng Jong Huang, Liang Miin Tsai

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77 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Suicide attempts with agricultural chemicals are common in southern Taiwan. Among them, glyphosate-surfactant herbicide (GlySH) intoxication has been encountered with increasing frequency. Although a number of reports have described the clinical course and outcomes following ingestion, predictors of serious complications and mortality have not been elucidated. The purpose of this study was to define predictors of serious complications and probable mortality. Methods: This was a retrospective study of 131 GlySH-intoxicated patients treated at the National Cheng Kung University Hospital from 1988 to 1995. Medical charts were reviewed and clinical and laboratory variables were abstracted, looking for predictors of mortality. Results: The most common symptoms included sore throat (79.5%), and nausea with or without vomiting (73.8%). The most common laboratory findings were leukocytosis (68.0%), low serum bicarbonate (48.1%), and acidosis (35.8%). Overall, 11 of 131 patients (8.4%) died; the mean ± SEM time to death was 2.8 ± 0.8 days after presentation. When comparing the clinical and laboratory characteristics among the survivor and fatality groups, significant differences were identified. Respiratory distress, pulmonary edema, respiratory distress necessitating intubation, shock (systolic blood pressure less than 90 mm Hg), altered consciousness, abnormal chest x-ray, renal failure necessitating hemodialysis, larger amount of ingestion (>200 mL), and hyperkalemia were predictors highly associated with poor outcomes and mortality. Using multiple logistic regression, three predictors were identified, which may predict mortality in severely intoxicated patients. Conclusions: In managing patients who have larger amount of GlySH ingestion, airway protection, early detection of pulmonary edema, and prevention of further pulmonary damage and renal damage appear to be of critical importance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)906-910
Number of pages5
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Emergency Medicine


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