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      Paraquat induced acute kidney injury and lung fibrosis: a case report from Bangladesh

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          Since Bangladesh government issued a ban on the use of highly toxic WHO Class I pesticides, annual consumption of herbicides like Paraquat have been sharply increasing in the markets. Paraquat poisoning is an emerging public health threat and its high mortality rate is responsible for a significant number of deaths. Diagnostic limitations and unavailable sample at presentation have resulted in under-reporting and lack of awareness among the treating physicians, making Paraquat poisoning one of the most neglected toxicological emergencies. Herein, we present a case of Paraquat induced multi-organ failure and emphasis on pitfalls in the management.

          Case presentation

          An 18-years-old healthy male was admitted in Sylhet M.A.G Osmani Medical College Hospital with history of attempted suicide by Paraquat ingestion. On admission, he had high serum creatinine but otherwise asymptomatic. He was discharged on day 10 when his renal functions returned to normal. But On day 15, he started having respiratory symptoms—unresponsive to any of the local treatments he received, and by day 30, he developed overt lung fibrosis. We present sequential blood picture, radiographs and CT scans demonstrating Paraquat induced kidney and lung injury over the course of 30 days.


          Paraquat poisoning can lead to death and fatal long-term consequences. All cases of Paraquat poisoning, regardless of symptoms, must be hospitalized and observed for early detection of complications. Distribution of Paraquat should be restricted and/or banned as 38 other countries have done so, which we believe will greatly reduce poisoning related mortality.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (10.1186/s13104-018-3425-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 8

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          Medical management of paraquat ingestion.

          Poisoning by paraquat herbicide is a major medical problem in parts of Asia while sporadic cases occur elsewhere. The very high case fatality of paraquat is due to inherent toxicity and lack of effective treatments. We conducted a systematic search for human studies that report toxicokinetics, mechanisms, clinical features, prognosis and treatment. Paraquat is rapidly but incompletely absorbed and then largely eliminated unchanged in urine within 12-24 h. Clinical features are largely due to intracellular effects. Paraquat generates reactive oxygen species which cause cellular damage via lipid peroxidation, activation of NF-κB, mitochondrial damage and apoptosis in many organs. Kinetics of distribution into these target tissues can be described by a two-compartment model. Paraquat is actively taken up against a concentration gradient into lung tissue leading to pneumonitis and lung fibrosis. Paraquat also causes renal and liver injury. Plasma paraquat concentrations, urine and plasma dithionite tests and clinical features provide a good guide to prognosis. Activated charcoal and Fuller's earth are routinely given to minimize further absorption. Gastric lavage should not be performed. Elimination methods such as haemodialysis and haemoperfusion are unlikely to change the clinical course. Immunosuppression with dexamethasone, cyclophosphamide and methylprednisolone is widely practised, but evidence for efficacy is very weak. Antioxidants such as acetylcysteine and salicylate might be beneficial through free radical scavenging, anti-inflammatory and NF-κB inhibitory actions. However, there are no published human trials. The case fatality is very high in all centres despite large variations in treatment. © 2011 The Authors. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology © 2011 The British Pharmacological Society.
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            Toxicokinetics of paraquat in humans.

             R Mouy,  P. Houze,  C Bismuth (1989)
            1. The toxicokinetics of paraquat were studied in 18 cases of acute human poisoning using a specific radioimmunoassay. Plasma paraquat concentration exhibited a mean distribution half-life (t1/2 alpha) of 5 h and a mean elimination half-life (t1/2 beta) of 84 h. Cardiovascular collapse supervened early during the course of the intoxication and was associated with the distribution phase. Death related to pulmonary fibrosis occurred late and was associated with the elimination phase. 2. Pharmacokinetic analysis of urine paraquat excretion confirmed the biphasic decline of paraquat. Moreover, renal paraquat and creatinine clearances were not correlated but renal paraquat clearance was never higher than the renal creatinine clearance. 3. Tissue paraquat distribution was ubiquitous with an apparent volume of distribution ranging from 1.2 to 1.6 l/kg. Muscle could represent an important reservoir explaining the long persistence of paraquat in plasma and urine for several weeks or months after poisoning.
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              Impact of paraquat regulation on suicide in South Korea.

              Ingestion of pesticides (mainly paraquat) accounted for one-fifth of suicides in South Korea in 2006-10. We investigated the effect on suicide mortality of regulatory action, culminating in a ban on paraquat in South Korea in 2011-12.

                Author and article information

                +88 01846934907 ,
                BMC Res Notes
                BMC Res Notes
                BMC Research Notes
                BioMed Central (London )
                30 May 2018
                30 May 2018
                : 11
                [1 ]Department of Medicine, Sylhet M.A.G Osmani Medical College Hospital, Medical College Road, Sylhet, 3100 Bangladesh
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2034 9320, GRID grid.411509.8, Department of Medicine, , Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, ; Dhaka, Bangladesh
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1936 8948, GRID grid.4991.5, Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, Nuffield Department of Medicine, , University of Oxford, ; Oxford, UK
                © The Author(s) 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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                paraquat, poisoning, bangladesh, acute kidney injury, lung fibrosis


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