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Cyanide Poisoning (cont.)

Cyanide Poisoning Diagnosis

Treatment in the hospital's Emergency Department will depend on the victim's level of illness.

  • Cyanide poisoning is a treatable condition. Most people die because the diagnosis is not made quickly enough, or it is not considered from the start. Because cyanide poisoning is rare, the treating physician should be alerted of the possibility. This may be one of the most important things you can do to help the victim.
  • If you are the rescuer, you will be asked questions about what happened to the victim. You will be asked if there were any bottles lying around, if the victim had any medical or psychiatric problems, and other details. Stay calm and answer the questions, because this is vital information necessary to care for the injured person.
  • Blood tests, X-rays, and other procedures will be necessary to try to determine if cyanide poisoning has occurred, how bad the poisoning is, or if some other type of poisoning has occurred.
  • The diagnostic test for cyanide takes hours to days to perform. Thus, the doctors will rely on a combination of what you tell them, what the victim looks like, and supporting laboratory data to decide the likelihood of actual cyanide exposure.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/19/2013

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