I met up with Mike Betzner at North York General’s Update in EM Conference in Toronto. He is the medical director of Air Transport STARS air ambulance out of Calgary and an amazing speaker on the national lecturing circuit. His Best Case Ever on Chloral Hydrate poisoning & cardiac arrest describes a young man in cardiac arrest with resistant Ventricular Fibrillation and Torsades de Pointes. There is only one class of drugs that can get him back into normal sinus rhythm. Dr. Betzner describes how he recognized that this patient was suffering from Chloral Hydrate poisoning and how he saved his life with one simple intervention.

Published July, 2014 by Anton Helman

This podcast is featured on Life in The Fast Lane’s Review of the Best of Emergency Medicine FOAM here.

For an excellent review of the many aspects of Chloral Hydrate overdose, read Chris Nickson’s synopsis and Q&A at the Life in The Fast Lane blog.


Key References

Zahedi A, et al: Successful treatment of chloral hydrate cardiac toxicity with propranolol.  Am J Emerg Med 1999; 17:490. Abstract

Mace SE and the EMSC Panel on Critical Issues in the Sedation of Pediatric Patients in the Emergency. Clinical policy: Critical issues in the sedation of pediatric patients in the emergency department. Ann Emerg Med. 2008 Apr;51(4):378-99, 399. Abstract


Dr. Helman and Dr. Betzner have no conflicts of interest to declare.