Acute toxicity from baking soda ingestion

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      Sodium bicarbonate is an extremely well-known agent that historically has been used for a variety of medical conditions. Despite the widespread use of oral bicarbonate, little documented toxicity has occurred, and the emergency medicine literature contains no reports of toxicity caused by the ingestion of baking soda. Risks of acute and chronic oral bicarbonate ingestion include metabolic alkalosis, hypernatremia, hypertension, gastric rupture, hyporeninemia, hypokalemia, hypochloremia, intravascular volume depletion, and urinary alkalinization. Abrupt cessation of chronic excessive bicarbonate ingestion may result in hyperkalemia, hypoaldosteronism, volume contraction, and disruption of calcium and phosphorus metabolism. The case of a patient with three hospital admissions in 4 months, all the result of excessive oral intake of bicarbonate for symptomatic relief of dyspepsia is reported. Evaluation and treatment of patients with acute bicarbonate ingestion is discussed.


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