Gastric perforation attributable to liquid nitrogen ingestion.

Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Pediatrics (Impact Factor: 5.3). 01/2000; 105(1 Pt 1):121-3. DOI: 10.1542/peds.105.1.121
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Despite the widespread use of liquid nitrogen in medicine and industry, there are only a few reports of injuries associated with its use. We report a case of a 13-year-old boy who developed gastric perforation after liquid nitrogen ingestion. This is a previously unreported complication.

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    ABSTRACT: Ingestion of liquid nitrogen is rare but carries catastrophic complications related to barotrauma to the gastrointestinal tract. We describe a case of ingestion of liquid nitrogen followed by gastric perforation and respiratory insufficiency and discuss the mechanism of injury and management of this condition. Liquid nitrogen is widely available and is frequently used in classroom settings, in gastronomy, and for recreational purposes. Given the potentially lethal complications of ingestion, regulation of its use, acquisition, and storage may be appropriate.
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    ABSTRACT: We report a case of gastric perforation in an 18-year-old girl as a result of ingesting an alcoholic drink containing liquid nitrogen. The drink was purchased in licensed premises. The extent of the injury necessitated total gastrectomy with Roux-en Y reconstruction. We review the literature, discuss the mechanism of injury and consider the implications for medical services. The authors believe this case is of educational interest to professionals working in emergency medicine, general surgery and public health fields. It raises awareness of a rare injury, but one that may be more commonly encountered because of developing social trends. It informs surgeons confronted with this type of injury that trauma to the gastrointestinal tract can be extensive and preoperative contact with oesophago-gastric colleagues is advisable. Public health bodies must be aware of, and monitor, the use of liquid nitrogen in this way and consider regulation to prevent further injuries.
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