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Recent Developments in the Clinical Management of Weaponized Nerve Agent Toxicity

  • Alexander F. BarbutoEmail author
  • Peter R. Chai
Chapter
  • 45 Downloads

Abstract

Human exposure to weaponized organophosphates (e.g. nerve agents) occurs in the context of military and terrorist attacks, assassinations, laboratory accidents, and suicide attempts. Increasing global tensions have led to renewed scrutiny of nerve agents and their deliberate use to poison political enemies. Poisoning from these highly potent agents present several challenges. Toxicitiy from these agents may persist untreated if clinicians do not recognize the resultant cholinergic toxidrome. Despite clinicians lack of familiarity with nerve agent toxicity, large scale exposures due to chemical munitions may significantly stress healthcare systems and deplete antidote availability. Finally, recent history suggests that environmental persistence of some nerve agents may pose additional threat due to delayed exposure and injury to innocent bystanders. This chapter reviews important advances in the clinical management of individuals exposed to nerve agents. It discusses contingency management and alternate antidotes in the setting of mass depletion of existing antidote stock.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harvard Medical Toxicology Program at Boston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Harvard Medical School, Division of Medical Toxicology, Department of Emergency MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Adjunct Faculty, The Fenway InstituteBostonUSA

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