The death of a Dutch teenager is drawing attention to the fatal consequences of inhaling household products.
According to a BMJ report, the 19-year-old died in July after inhaling deodorant spray to get high as he was being treated at a drug rehabilitation facility.
The patient, who was being treated for ketamine and cannabis abuse, and was taking psychoactive drugs, had relapsed and placed a towel over his head to inhale deodorant spray to get high, according to the report.
The teen became hyperactive before going into cardiac arrest and collapsing. After life support and six rounds of defibrillation failed, he was placed in a medically induced coma.
The “patient did not had enough brain function to sustain life,” said Dr. Kelvin Harvey Kramp of Maasstad Hospital’s intensive care unit in Rotterdam.
He died nine days later.
Kramp said the inhalant may have oversensitized the patient’s heart, and a small stressor could have caused him to go into cardiac arrest. A coronary artery spasm may have also caused the cardiac arrest, he added.
Judging by the patient’s hyperactivity, he may have been experiencing a “scary hallucination,” Kramp said, meaning the first theory would be applicable.
Such cases are “very rare,” according to Kramp, but deodorant spray is one of several common household products that contain substances that can be used for inhalant abuse. Kramp said the toxic chemical butane, which is often used in these products, has a similar effect to alcohol.
Nearly 125 people die in the United States each year from inhalant abuse. Other health effects of inhalants include liver and kidney damage, hearing loss, delayed behavioral development and brain damage. Studies show the groups most affected by inhalant abuse are 15 to 19-years-old.