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Research Article

Use of charcoal haemoperfusion in the management of severely poisoned patients.

Br Med J 1975; 1 doi: (Published 04 January 1975) Cite this as: Br Med J 1975;1:5
  1. J A Vale,
  2. A J Rees,
  3. B Widdop,
  4. R Goulding


    The clinical use of uncoated charcoal haemoperfusion systems, despite their efficacy, has hitherto been prevented by the occurrence of a number of adverse effects including charcoal embolism and marked thrombocytopenia. Charcoal coated with a synthetic hydrogel overcomes many of the disadvantages associated with the use of uncoated material in that there is a much reduced thrombocytopenia and no evidence of charcoal embolism. Six patients, severely poisoned as a result of overdoses of either a barbiturate or glutethimide, were haemoperfused using such a system. Four made complete recoveries, and the two patients who died had both suffered cardiorespiratory arrests before perfusion. In contrast to haemodialysis charcoal haemoperfusion is simple to initiate, less expensive in terms of manpower and equipment, and gives superior clearance data for all barbiturates and glutethimide. We believe that this technique may have a significant role to play in the management of the severely poisoned patient.