Methanol poisoning: acute MR and CT findings in nine patients

Neuroradiology. 2007 May;49(5):427-35. doi: 10.1007/s00234-007-0210-8. Epub 2007 Feb 10.


Introduction: Methanol poisoning is an uncommon but potent central nervous system toxin. We describe here the CT and MR findings in nine patients following an outbreak of methanol poisoning.

Methods: Five patients with a typical clinical presentation and elevated anion and osmolar gaps underwent conventional brain MRI with a 1.5-T Gyroscan Interna scanner. In addition nonenhanced CT was performed in another three patients with more severe toxicity.

Results: Bilateral hemorrhagic or nonhemorrhagic necrosis of the putamina, diffuse white matter necrosis, and subarachnoid hemorrhage were among the radiological findings. Various patterns of enhancement of basal ganglial lesions were found including no enhancement, strong enhancement and rim enhancement.

Conclusion: A good knowledge of the radiological findings in methanol poisoning seems to be necessary for radiologists. The present study is unique in that it enables us to include in a single report most of the radiological findings that have been reported previously.

MeSH terms

  • Acid-Base Equilibrium / physiology
  • Adult
  • Basal Ganglia / drug effects
  • Basal Ganglia / pathology
  • Basal Ganglia Diseases / chemically induced
  • Basal Ganglia Diseases / diagnosis
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Methanol / poisoning*
  • Necrosis
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Putamen / drug effects
  • Putamen / pathology
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*


  • Methanol