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VEGETABLE ACID POISONS

HYDROCYANIC ACID
(CYANOGEN OR PRUSSIC ACID)

CHARACTERISTICS

Gas:

colourless
Smell bitter almonds

Liquid acid highly volatile


-- colourless
-- transparent

Combines with bases of metals, alkalis


CYANIDES (salts) white powder

USES OF CYANIDES

Photography

Electroplating

Metallurgy

Tanning

Fumigation of ships

Agriculture

FOUND NATURALLY

Peach

Plum

Apple

Bitter almonds

Leaves of cherry
Exists as Glucoside amygladin harmless.
Enzyme emulsion hydrolyses it
acid

hydrocyanic

Cyanides + Acids

Toxic --- inhaled

Cyanides rapidity of action depends on


HCL in

stomach.

hydrocyanic acid

MODE OF ACTION

Protoplasmic poisoning

Inhibits cytochrome oxidase system for oxygen


utilization.

Other enzyme system also inhibited.

Cyanides --- corrosive effect on mucus membrane.

Prevent formation of ATP.

Death cytotoxic or histotoxic anoxia (blood may


contain normal oxygen content)

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS


MOST RAPID OF ALL POISONS

Inhalation of gas : Instantaneous death


Large dose swallowed
Symptoms occur at once.
Some times interval of one minute which
allows victim to perform voluntary acts.
Death delayed (few minutes).
Agonizing dyspnoea
Convulsions
Dilated pupils

SMALL DOSE SWALLOWED

Head ache

Confusion

Giddiness

Nausea

Loss of muscular power.

Smell of bitter almonds (mouth).

Violent convulsions.

Loss of consciousness.

Fine froth (mouth)

Death

INGESTION OF SALTS
(POTASSIUM CYANIDE)

Symptoms appear after 10 20 minutes

Acted upon by HCL to liberate hydrocyanic acid

SYMPTOMS:

Giddiness

Dyspnoea

Dilated and fixed pupils

Convulsive seizures

Loss of muscle power

Epigastric pain

Vomiting

Cyanosis of face

Jaw clenched

Froth mouth

Respiration spasmodic

Pulse imperceptible

Death (respiratory paralysis)

CHRONIC POISONING
REPEATED EXPOSURE TO NON LETHAL DOSES
SEEN IN: Photographers
Gilders
SYMPTOMS:
Headache
Vomiting
Diarrhoea
Mental disturbances
Chronic cachexia

FATAL DOSE:
Pure acid: 50 60 mg
Pharmacopoeial Preparation:30 drops
Crude oil
Bitter almonds : 60 drops
Potassium cyanide : 200 mg

FATAL PERIOD

Death: immediate:

Hydrocyanic acid:2 10 minutes.

Sodium or potassium cyanide: 30 minutes.

TREATMENT
Immediate treatment may be of value
AIM: Reverse cyanide cyrochrome
combination
Haemoglobin

methaemoglobin + cyanide

cyanmethaemoglobin (Non-toxic).

If Pt survives for 4 hrs ---- recover

Two 20 ml ampoules of 1.5 % dicobalt


tetracemate IV.

20 ml of 50% glucose.

50 ml of 1% solution of methylene
blue(methyl thioneine chloride) IV.
ANTIDOTE
converts
methaemogloben.

haemogloben

to

POTASSIUM CYANIDE OR DILUTE


HYOROCYANIC ACID POISONING

Gastric lavage with 10 to 50% Nathiosulphate


or Mixture of sulphates of iron

Followed by:
Solution of Potassium Carbonate to form
Prussion blue (inert)
Emetics (stomach tube not available)

Inhalation of hydrocyanic acid gas (cyanogas)

Remove the patient to fresh air

Artificial respiration

100% O2

Sodium nitrite
Sodium thiosulphate

I.V

Postmortem appearance

Asphyxia

EXTERNAL:
Smell bitter almonds
Face, lips, body surface irregular pink
patches.
Skin --- livid or cyanosed.
Nails blue
Eyes glistening, dilated pupils.
Cherry red postmortem staining.
Rigor-Mortis early (convulsive seizures)

INTERENAL P.M APPEARANCE

Smell of bitter almonds :

Stomach

Serous cavities.

Brain

Stomach, mucous membrane pink

Other organs : pink (cynmethaemoglobin)

Trachea or bronchi blood stained froth.

Brain or meninges hyperaemic.

Potassium cyanide poisoning

Corrosion Mouth

Reddening of gastric mucous membrane

Frank or altered blood in stomach from


erosions.

ORGANS FOR CHEMICAL


ANALYSIS

Brain

Lungs

Stomach contents

Urine

Vomitus

PRECAUTIONS FOR
DISSECTOR

Rubber gloves

Mask

Prevent

inhalation

stomach contents.

of

cyanides

from

MEDICOLEGAL ASPECTS

Suicidal agents:

Hydrocyanic acid

Cyanides (commonly used)

Accidental:

Fumigation

Disinfection

Homicidal (Rare)

Smell and taste

Cattle Poison

Double cyanides

Potassium ferrocyanide
Potassium ferricyanide

Non Toxic

Taken with acid


Poisonous

Judicial Execution

Strapped to a chair

Cyanide Eggs

Inhalation

strong acid
immediate death

cyano gas