Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 62, Issue 2–3, pp 161–166 | Cite as

Effects of amyl nitrite on circulation, respiration and blood homoeostasis in cyanide poisoning

  • R. Klimmek
  • C. Krettek
Original Investigations


The effects of intravenously (i.v.) administered or inhaled amyl nitrite (AN) were followed under chloralose anaesthesia in intact and cyanide-poisoned, spontaneously breathing beagles. The i.v. doses of AN were 0.03 and 0.15 mmol/kg and the i.v. dose of KCN was 0.06 mmol/kg. AN was inhaled in a closed system at 0.15 mmol/kg without previous poisoning and, in addition, at 0.074 mmol/kg (two ampoules at 0.3 ml AN) during artificial ventilation after poisoning with 0.045 mmol KCN/kg i.v., Mean arterial pressure decreased by 15 and 40 mmHg, respectively, after i.v. injection of AN, associated with bradycardia and lowered peripheral blood flow. Respiratory minute volume rose by 65% with the higher dose. Arterial pO2 decreased by 20 mmHg while pCO2 rose by 6 mmHg. Within 30 min of injection, these changes were only partially reversible. Similar results were obtained following inhalation of AN in a closed system. Lactic acidosis and lowering of pH were produced by the i.v. route, but not by inhalation. Total haemoglobin increased. The lethality of KCN was abolished with AN doses that produced 10–30% ferrihaemoglobin. Artificial ventilation and simultaneous inhalation of AN after poisoning with lethal doses of KCN turned out to be ineffective therapeutic measures. The findings are compared with those of other papers dealing with cyanide poisoning and AN. It is pointed out that, for the present, there is no experimental proof for another antidotal mechanism of action of AN than ferrihaemoglobin formation.

Key words

Amyl nitrite Ferrihaemoglobin Cyanide Circulation Blood gases 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Klimmek
    • 1
  • C. Krettek
    • 1
  1. 1.Walther-Straub-Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie der Ludwig-Maximilians-UniversitätMünchen 2Federal Republic of Germany

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