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Case report
A severe case of methaemoglobinaemia in a Brazilian hairdresser
  1. Felicity de Vere1,
  2. Rachel Moores2,
  3. Kulwant Dhadwal1 and
  4. Efthimia Karra3
  1. 1 Intensive Care, Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead, London, UK
  2. 2 Infectious Diseases and Acute Medicine, Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead, London, UK
  3. 3 Endocrinology and Diabetes, Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Felicity de Vere; felicitydevere{at}


Methaemoglobinaemia is an extremely rare condition with multiple causes, both genetic and acquired. We present a severe case of methaemoglobinaemia occurring in a Brazilian hairdresser working in the UK. She presented after several days of preparing popular ‘Brazilian blowdry’ treatments for customers at a hair salon. She had been exposed to multiple volatile chemicals, including formaldehyde, without any respiratory protection, and we postulate that this may have caused her illness. If so, this would be the first published case of methaemoglobinaemia caused by exposure to the volatile components of beauty products.

  • poisoning
  • adult intensive care
  • exposures
  • toxicology

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  • FdV and RM are joint first authors.

  • FdV and RM contributed equally.

  • Contributors FdV and RM drafted the initial manuscript having reviewed the case and researched the subject matter. KD and EK provided advice and guidance on the draft and redraft. All authors gave final approval of the version submitted for publication.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.