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Ethylene Glycol and Propylene Glycol Toxicity
What Instructions Should Be Given to Patients?

Course: WB 1103
CE Original Date: October 3, 2007
CE Renewal Date: October 3, 2010
CE Expiration Date: October 3, 2012
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Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this section, you should be able to

  • explain advice on self care and follow-up to patients who are exposed to ethylene glycol or propylene glycol.

Introduction

All patients with ethylene glycol poisoning should be evaluated and treated without delay. Even patients with no symptoms or mild symptoms should undergo appropriate blood and urine tests if they have a history of significant ingestion. Patients who have no history suggestive of significant exposure and who have no symptoms or laboratory findings of ethylene glycol poisoning may be discharged with instructions to seek medical care promptly if symptoms develop.

All patients exposed to ethylene glycol or propylene glycol need some basic guidance on

  • self care, so they can minimize further risks and avoid complications to the extent possible
  • clinical follow up, so they understand when and why to return for further medical attention

Self Care

Patients should be advised to avoid exposures and conditions that might further increase their risk of disease or worsen their existing condition. You may offer the following advice to your patient:

  • Do not keep antifreeze stored in your home.
  • If you have any around, keep it safely and securely stored away from children.
  • Be sure that leaking air conditioning units are repaired.
  • If you suspect that someone has ingested antifreeze, be sure that they are seen immediately by a doctor.

Clinical Follow-Up

Patients should be advised to consult their physician if they develop

  • any signs or symptoms of central nervous system problems
  • signs or symptoms of other health changes (especially those possibly related to heart and kidney problems)

Key Points

  • Patients should be advised to avoid exposures and conditions that might further increase their risk of disease or worsen their existing condition.
  • Patients should contact their physician if they develop neurological problems or other health changes.
   

Progress Check

23. Patients who have been exposed to ethylene glycol should

A. seek clinical evaluation and treatment without delay
B. learn how to avoid further exposure
C. know when to call their doctor
D. All of the above.

Answer:

To review relevant content, see Self Care and Clinical Follow-Up in this section.

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