Massive ethylene glycol poisoning without evidence of crystalluria: A case for early intervention

Michael C. Haupt, David N. Zull, Stephen L. Adams*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


A case of severe ethylene glycol poisoning is presented, characterized by protracted delirium, coma, and delayed adult respiratory distress syndrome. This patient never demonstrated evidence of calcium oxalate crystalluria or renal insufficiency. Ethylene glycol intoxication should be considered in the patient who presents with an altered mental status, unexplained metabolic acidosis, and elevated anion and osmolal gaps with or without crystalluria. Early empiric ethanol therapy and consideration of dialysis are recommended for those patients with such a presentation without evidence of abnormal levels of ketones, lactate, solicylate, or ethanol. It is proposed that early ethanol therapy may prevent the formation of ethylene glycol metabolites to the extent that calcium oxalate crystalluria is not seen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-300
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988


  • anion gap
  • elevated anion gap metabolic acidosis
  • ethylene glycol poisoning without crystalluria
  • metabolic acidosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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