BMJ Case Reports 2012; doi:10.1136/bcr-2012-007795
  • Unusual presentation of more common disease/injury

Pyopneumothorax following suicidal kerosene ingestion

  1. Rashmi Upadhyay
  1. Department of Pulmonary Medicine, King George's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
  1. Correspondence to Professor S K Verma, drskverma{at}


Liquid hydrocarbons derived from petroleum are widely used in household and industry. Many hydrocarbons in kerosene, such as hexane, naphthalene, octane and phenanthrene, are toxic to humans. Pulmonary toxicity is the major cause of morbidity and mortality followed by central nervous-system and cardiovascular complications. 1 As kerosene is a mixture of chemicals, there is no definitive absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion. The major route of exposure is by inhalation of liquid (aspiration). Kerosene vapours may be mildly irritating to the respiratory system and spray applications of kerosene may provoke signs of pulmonary irritation such as coughing and dyspnoea. Kerosene aspiration leads to inflammation and loss of surfactant. Secondary effects in the lungs include pneumothorax, pneumatocele or bronchopleural fistula. Here, we are presenting a case of pyopneumothorax after kerosene consumption.

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