CASE REPORT
Interstitial pneumonitis after acetylene welding: A case report
Miran Brvar 1, 2  
 
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1
Poison Control Centre, Division of Internal Medicine, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2
Division of Internal Medicine, Poison Control Centre, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Zaloška cesta 7, 1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia
 
Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2014;27(1):132–136
 
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ABSTRACT
Acetylene is a colorless gas commonly used for welding. It acts mainly as a simple asphyxiant. In this paper, however, we present a patient who developed a severe interstitial pneumonitis after acetylene exposure during aluminum welding. A 44-year old man was welding with acetylene, argon and aluminum electrode sticks in a non-ventilated aluminum tank for 2 h. Four hours after welding dyspnea appeared and 22 h later he was admitted at the Emergency Department due to severe respiratory insufficiency with pO2 = 6.7 kPa. Chest X-ray showed diffuse interstitial infiltration. Pulmonary function and gas diffusion tests revealed a severe restriction (55% of predictive volume) and impaired diffusion capacity (47% of predicted capacity). Toxic interstitial pneumonitis was diagnosed and high-dose systemic corticosteroid methylprednisolone and inhalatory corticosteroid fluticasone therapy was started. Computed Tomography (CT) of the lungs showed a diffuse patchy ground-glass opacity with no signs of small airway disease associated with interstitial pneumonitis. Corticosteroid therapy was continued for the next 8 weeks gradually reducing the doses. The patient's follow-up did not show any deterioration of respiratory function. In conclusion, acetylene welding might result in severe toxic interstitial pneumonitis that improves after an early systemic and inhalatory corticosteroid therapy.
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