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: 5.47). 01/2000; 105(1 Pt 1):121-3. DOI: 10.1542/peds.105.1.121
Source: PubMed


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.

48 Reads

  • No preview · Article · Oct 2007 · Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Liquid nitrogen (LN) ingestion is unusual, but may be encountered by poison centers, emergency physicians, and general surgeons. Unique properties of LN produce a characteristic pattern of injury. A 19-year-old male college student presented to the Emergency Department complaining of abdominal pain and "bloating" after drinking LN. His presentation vital signs were remarkable only for mild tachypnea and tachycardia. On physical examination, he had mild respiratory difficulty due to abdominal distention. His abdomen was tense and distended. Abdominal X-ray studies revealed a massive pneumoperitoneum. At laparotomy, he was found to have a large amount of peritoneal gas. No perforation was identified. After surgery, the patient made an uneventful recovery and was discharged 5 days later. At 2-week clinic follow-up, he was doing well without complications. Nitrogen is a colorless, odorless gas at room temperature. Due to its low boiling point (-195 degrees C), LN rapidly evaporates when in contact with body surface temperatures. Therefore, ingested LN causes damage by two mechanisms: rapid freezing injury upon mucosal contact and rapid volume expansion as nitrogen gas is formed. Patients who ingest LN may develop gastrointestinal perforation and massive pneumoperitoneum. Because rapid gas formation may allow large volumes to escape from tiny perforations, the exact site of perforation may never be identified. In cases of LN ingestion, mucosal injury and rapid gas formation can cause massive pneumoperitoneum. Although laparotomy is recommended for all patients with signs of perforation, the site of injury may never be identified.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2008 · Journal of Emergency Medicine
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2010 · Pediatric emergency care
Show more