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Accidental aspiration of a solid tablet of sodium hypochlorite
  1. Caroline Boonekamp1,
  2. François Voruz2,
  3. Christophe Fehlmann1,3
  1. 1 Department of General Internal Medicine, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland
  2. 2 Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland
  3. 3 Emergency departement, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Caroline Boonekamp, caroline.boonekamp{at}


Sodium hypochlorite is a corrosive, highly alkaline (pka=7.52) household product. Ingestion of sodium hypochlorite liquid is common, showing toxicity on the oesophagus and stomach. Nevertheless, cases of sodium hypochlorite ingestions in pellet are rare and the management of them is unknown. We report the case of a 65-year-old man who accidentally swallowed a bleach tablet of 3.5 g. Six hours later, the patient developed an aphonia associated with dysponea stage IV, motivating a nasofibroscopy showing glottis and supraglottic necrosis and oedema for which the patient received intravenous steroids, was intubated and then underwent a tracheotomy. After 2 weeks under tracheotomy, local evolution was favourable allowing a removal of the cannula and a return back home.

  • poisoning
  • resuscitation
  • ear, nose and throat/otolaryngology

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  • Contributors CB wrote the first manuscript. FV brought essential contributions and revised the manuscript. CF supervised the whole work and revised the manuscript. All agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • 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 Obtained.

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

  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was published online. The substance ingested by the patient described in the case report was sodium hypochlorite (Bleach, pKa=7.52) and not sodium hydroxide (Caustic soda, pKa=14.8).

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