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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Methemoglobinemia Induced By Ingesting Lava Lamp Contents


A patient presented after ingesting the contents of a lava lamp that he believed to contain alcohol. It was later discovered that this product was comprised of 76% calcium nitrate, leading to his subsequent development of methemoglobinemia. This disease is a medical emergency secondary to poor transportation of oxygen and resultant tissue hypoxic effects. Therefore, having high suspicion for this disease process in patients with toxic ingestions, understanding the proper diagnosis, and promptly starting treatment are all critical actions for emergency physicians.

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