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Liquid Nitrogen Ingestion Followed by Gastric Perforation

Berrizbeitia, Luis D. MD*; Calello, Diane P. MD†‡; Dhir, Nisha MD§; O'Reilly, Colin DO; Marcus, Steven MD

doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e3181cd14b3
Illustrative Cases

Ingestion of liquid nitrogen is rare but carries catastrophic complications related to barotrauma to the gastrointestinal tract. We describe a case of ingestion of liquid nitrogen followed by gastric perforation and respiratory insufficiency and discuss the mechanism of injury and management of this condition. Liquid nitrogen is widely available and is frequently used in classroom settings, in gastronomy, and for recreational purposes. Given the potentially lethal complications of ingestion, regulation of its use, acquisition, and storage may be appropriate.

From the *Section of Thoracic, University Medical Center at Princeton, Princeton; †Department of Pediatrics, Division of Emergency Medicine and Critical Care, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick; ‡New Jersey Poison Information and Education System, Newark; and §Section of General Surgery, University Medical at Princeton, Princeton, NJ.

Reprints: Luis D. Berrizbeitia, MD, Division of Thoracic Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis St, Boston, MA 02115 (e-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.