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Research Article

Predicting outcome of paracetamol poisoning by use 14C-aminopyrine breath test.

Br Med J 1980; 280 doi: (Published 02 February 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;280:279
  1. J B Saunders,
  2. N Wright,
  3. K O Lewis


    The 14C-aminopyrine (14C-amidopyrine) breath test, carried out within 24-36 hours of an overdosage of paracetamol, was used to predict the extent of liver damage in 30 seriously poisoned patients. Mean 14CO2 excretion was 4.4% in 20 healthy control subjects; 5.5% in six patients who escaped injury; and 2.9%, 1.5%, and 0.2% in those with mild to moderate (12 patients), severe (eight patients), and fatal (four patients) liver damage respectively. This test proved to be a more reliable predictor of the extent of liver damage than plasma paracetamol concentration or half life or the results of conventional liver function tests and may enable treatment of hepatic failure to be started at an early stage.