Paraquat Poisoning

Paraquat poisoning is a medical emergency resulting from exposure to paraquat, a potent and highly toxic herbicide commonly used in agriculture. The poison can enter the body through ingestion, inhalation, or skin contact, and even small amounts can be lethal. Once absorbed, paraquat generates reactive oxygen species that cause extensive cellular damage, particularly in the lungs, liver, and kidneys. Initial symptoms of paraquat poisoning include severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, often with blood. As the condition progresses, it leads to respiratory distress, acute kidney injury, liver failure, and potentially fatal pulmonary fibrosis. Inhalation can cause severe lung damage, while skin contact may lead to burns and systemic toxicity if not promptly treated.Diagnosis is primarily based on the history of exposure and clinical symptoms, supported by laboratory tests that detect paraquat in blood or urine. Unfortunately, there is no specific antidote for paraquat poisoning. Treatment focuses on reducing further absorption of the toxin—typically through gastric lavage, activated charcoal, or Fuller's earth—and supportive care to manage symptoms and complications. This may include oxygen therapy, dialysis for kidney failure, and other intensive care measures.Due to its extreme toxicity and the lack of effective treatments, paraquat use is highly restricted and banned in many countries. In regions where it is still used, strict safety protocols are enforced to minimize the risk of exposure.

About the Speaker

Dr. Ranjith Ravella
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Dr. Ranjith Ravella

Internal Medicine Consultant at KHIMS Hospital, Khammam

Dr. Ranjith Ravella is a distinguished medical professional with an MBBS and MD in General Medicine from Father Muller Medical College, Mangalore. Currently serving as an Internal Medicine Consultant at KHIMS Hospital in Khammam, he has held significant academic roles, including Assistant Professor at Mamatha Medical College, Khammam, and former Assistant Professor at Apollo Medical College, Hyderabad. Dr. Ravella also gained valuable experience as a Non-Academic Junior Resident at AIIMS, New Delhi. His exemplary service has been recognized with the prestigious 'Seva Ratna award' from the Mother Teresa Foundation in Hyderabad. Additionally, his contributions to medical research have been honored with the 'Young Research Scholar Grant' from the International Digestive Disease Forum (IDDF) in Hong Kong.

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