X-Message-Number: 12671
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999 14:25:25 -0700 (PDT)
From: Doug Skrecky <>
Subject: hazards of liquid nitrogen

  Kernbach-Wighton G.  Kijewski H.  Schwanke P.  Saur P.  Sprung R.
  Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Gottingen, Germany.
  Clinical and morphological
  aspects of death due to liquid nitrogen.
  International Journal of Legal Medicine.  111(4):191-5, 1998.
  A 24-year-old student died while filling flasks with liquid nitrogen. The
  arms, legs and back were frozen and the face, ears and neck showed a dark red
  and livid colour with horizontal lines of demarcation. In the
  electrocardiogram, the heart showed asystolia followed by wide ventricular
  complexes. The patient was intubated orally as the situs of the larynx and
  pharynx showed no pathology findings. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was
  carried out and terminated after 90 min. Unfortunately, the body temperature
  was not measured. The gas analysis of venous blood showed metabolic acidosis
  and oxygen deficiency. The student had worked alone with nitrogen, without
  opening the windows and without a working ventilation system. While filling
  the third flask he lost consciousness. As nitrogen does not cause
  characteristic prodromal signs he laid on the floor and was unable to help
  himself. The liquid nitrogen which was still escaping spread over the floor
  and vaporized. The student died from asphyxia due to oxygen deficiency in an
  atmosphere of nitrogen.

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