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The metabolic effects of fatal cyanide poisoning.
  1. B. M. Singh,
  2. N. Coles,
  3. P. Lewis,
  4. R. A. Braithwaite,
  5. M. Nattrass,
  6. M. G. FitzGerald
  1. General Hospital, Birmingham, UK.


    Metabolic and toxicological data were obtained during the first 24 hours following severe and eventually fatal cyanide poisoning. Initial blood cyanide concentrations were 804 mumol/l but fell rapidly over 24 hours following cobalt edetate therapy to 15 mumol/l. However, plasma thiocyanate concentrations rose over 24 hours (147-267 mumol/l) suggesting continued tissue detoxification. The major metabolic abnormality was lactic acidosis (initial pH 7.21, blood lactate 17.5 mmol/l) which corrected over 12 hours. Despite high circulating insulin concentrations the responses of blood glucose, plasma non-esterified fatty acid, blood glycerol and 3-hydroxybutyrate suggested marked insulin resistance.

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