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Acute intensive care unit management of mustard gas victims: the Turkish experience()

TitleAcute intensive care unit management of mustard gas victims: the Turkish experience()
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsKilic E., Ortatatli M., Sezigen S., Eyison R.K, Kenar L.
JournalCutan Ocul Toxicol
Date PublishedDec
ISBN Number1556-9527 (Linking)
Accession Number29648477
Keywords*Chemical Warfare, *Chemical Warfare Agents, *Mustard Gas, Adult, Blister/pathology, Bone Marrow Diseases/chemically induced/drug therapy, CHEMICAL WARFARE AGENTS, Critical Care/*methods, Dyspnea/chemically induced/therapy, Eye Diseases/chemically induced/therapy, Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor/therapeutic use, Humans, intensive care unit, Irritants/therapeutic use, Male, Pharyngitis/chemically induced/therapy, Respiratory Tract Diseases/chemically induced/therapy, Skin Diseases/chemically induced/therapy, Skin/pathology, sulphur mustard, Syria, Toxic exposure, TREATMENT, TURKEY, Vesicants

PURPOSE: Sulphur mustard (SM) is an highly toxic and vesicant chemical weapon that was used in various military conflicts several times in the history. The severity of ocular, dermal, and pulmonary symptoms that may appear following a characteristic asymptomatic period are depending on the SM concentration and exposure duration. The aim of this study is to present the clinical features and share the intensive care unit (ICU) experiences for the medical management of mustard gas victims. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirteen Free Syrian Army soldiers near Al-Bab region of North Syria were reportedly exposed to oily blackish smoke with garlic smell due to the explosion of a trapped bomb without causing any blast or thermal effect on 26th November 2016. None of them wore any chemical protective suits or gas masks during explosion. Since they observed skin lesions including bullous formation next day, they were admitted to the Turkish Field Hospital at the Turkish - Syrian border and then evacuated to the State Hospital of Gaziantep Province, Turkey for further management. Eight victims who were very close to point of explosion suffered burning eyes, sore throat, dry cough and dyspnoea after the chemical attack. RESULTS: On admission to hospital, all cases had conjunctivitis, hoarseness and bullae on various body areas. Blepharospasm and opacity were found in 8 patients and 5 of them had corneal erosions and periorbital oedema. Temporary loss of vision in 4 cases lasted for 24 h. Multiple fluid-filled blisters were observed especially on the scalp, neck, arms and hands, where direct skin exposure to the agent occurred. A definitive clinical care and infection prophylaxis measures along with the burn treatment and bronchodilators for respiratory effects were applied in ICU. Two patients received granulocyte-colony-stimulating factor due to the SM-mediated bone marrow suppression on the 16th day of exposure and one of them died because of necrotic bronchial pseudomembrane obstruction resulting in cardiopulmonary arrest. CONCLUSIONS: SM was first used during the First World War and it is still considered one of the major chemical weapons recently used by non-state actors in Syria and Iraq. In case of SM exposure, medical treatment of SM-induced lesions is symptomatic because no antidote or causal therapy does exist even though SM is very well known for over 100 years. However, clinical management in intensive care medicine of SM victims have improved since the 1980s, this study which is one of the largest recent SM-exposed case series since that time is important for the contribution to the clinical experience.

Short TitleAcute intensive care unit management of mustard gas victims: the Turkish experience()

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