Hydrogen cyanide

CAS RN: 74-90-8

Differential Diagnosis

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Differential Diagnosis

  • In mass casualty events, cyanide or nerve agents can both present with sudden loss of consciousness followed by convulsions and apnea. Nerve agents typically have miosis, copious oral and nasal secretions, and muscle fasiciculations. Cyanide has normal or dilated pupils, few secretions and muscular twitching.
  • Cherry red skin color if present is suggestive of cyanide toxicity
  • One would have to have a high index of suspicion to focus on cyanide as the etiology of an individual presenting with loss of consciousness followed by convulsions and apnea, as this chain of events is common as the result of multiple etiologies.
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