26.07.2022 | Case Reports / Case Series
A case report of recreational use of inhaled Freon leading to acute hypoxemic respiratory failure salvaged by veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
Chung-chi Jennifer Chao, MSc, MD, FRCPC, Juan Ronco, MD, FRCPC
Canadian Journal of Anesthesia/Journal canadien d'anesthésie
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Freon™ is a halogenated hydrocarbon often used as a refrigerant. When inhaled recreationally, it has the desired effects of euphoria and intoxication. Toxic effects include cardiovascular and neurologic insults such as arrhythmias and seizures, and less well-described toxicities include airway and lung injury. The treatment in general is primarily supportive.
We present the case of a 42-yr-old previously healthy male who developed acute bronchiolitis and pneumonitis following inhalation of Freon leading to severe respiratory failure. He was supported by veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and managed with high-dose corticosteroids.
To our knowledge, this is the first case report of an inhaled Freon exposure resulting in acute lung injury refractory to conventional therapy that was salvaged by vv-ECMO as a bridge towards a full recovery.