Creatinine elevation associated with nitromethane exposure: a marker of potential methanol toxicity.


Nitromethane, methanol, and oil are the common components of radio-controlled (R/C) vehicle fuels. Nitromethane can cause a false elevation of serum creatinine concentration as measured by the widely used Jaffe colorimetric method. We gathered data from our poison control system and from previously published case reports to see if a correlation exists between serum methanol concentrations and spuriously elevated serum creatinine concentrations after human exposures to R/C fuel. The California Poison Control System (CPCS) computerized database was queried for all cases of human exposure to R/C vehicle fuel reported between December 1, 2002 and December 1, 2004. Serum creatinine and methanol concentrations were recorded when available, as was the method used to determine serum creatinine. A MEDLINE search was used to obtain previously published cases of human nitromethane exposure associated with falsely elevated creatinine concentrations. During the 2-year period, serum creatinine concentrations were recorded in 7 of 26 R/C fuel exposures (all ingestions), and 6 of these were abnormal (range of 1.9-11.5 mg/dL). In this series, the higher the serum creatinine concentration measured by Jaffe method, the higher the serum methanol concentration. The MEDLINE search yielded data from six previously published case reports on this topic. The data from these case reports seem to follow the trend seen in our case series. These data suggest that a spuriously elevated serum creatinine (by Jaffe method) may have value as an early surrogate marker of methanol poisoning in those who ingest R/C fuel. Also, the degree to which the serum creatinine is elevated may indicate the severity of methanol poisoning.

Cite this paper

@article{Cook2007CreatinineEA, title={Creatinine elevation associated with nitromethane exposure: a marker of potential methanol toxicity.}, author={Matthew Daniel Cook and Richard F. Clark}, journal={The Journal of emergency medicine}, year={2007}, volume={33 3}, pages={249-53} }