Hydrocarbon Inhalation Injury Workup

Updated: Mar 29, 2017
  • Author: Rakesh Vadde, MBBS; Chief Editor: Denise Serebrisky, MD  more...
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Laboratory Studies

When solvent-inhalant abuse is suspected, specific solvent identification should be requested from the laboratory because solvent inhalants are infrequently included in routine toxicologic screening tests. [39]

Complete toxicology screening should be performed because patients who abuse one drug may be simultaneously abusing others.

Perform serologic investigation of renal and hepatic dysfunction, as well as blood and urine testing for rhabdomyolysis.

Obtain serum electrolyte levels to diagnose hypokalemia, hypophosphatemia, hypercalcemia, and acidosis from distal renal tubular acidosis caused by chronic hydrocarbon abuse.

If indicated from the history and physical examination, laboratory tests should be performed for sexually transmitted disease and, possibly, pregnancy (due to disinhibition and poor judgment). Pregnancy testing should be performed in all solvent-abusing females of reproductive age because of the risk of toluene embryopathy.


Other Tests

The following are also indicated:

  • ECG and echocardiography - To identify pulmonary hypertension, evaluate for cardiomyopathy, identify and document dysrhythmias

  • Pulmonary function testing to look for evidence of restrictive disease

  • Neurophysiologic and neuropsychiatric tests for patients with evidence of chronic inhalant use

  • Neuromotor testing in patients with symptoms of peripheral neuropathy