Methanol poisoning: characteristic MRI findings

Ann Saudi Med. 2013 Jan-Feb;33(1):68-9. doi: 10.5144/0256-4947.2012.26.5.1114.


Acute methanol intoxication is not an unusual poisoning. It can have serious neurological sequelae. We emphasize how neuroimaging can help in distinguishing methanol poisoning from other causes of acute unconsciousness in alcoholic patients such as hypoglycemic brain damage and carbon monoxide poisoning or head injury, which are frequently observed in alcoholic patients and are also responsible for altered sensorium. The most important findings in MR brain imaging in methanol poisoning have been bilateral putaminal hemorrhagic necrosis. Other less common findings are subcortical and deep white matter lesions, cerebral and cerebellar cortical lesions, and midbrain lesions, cerebral and intraventricular hemorrhage, and even enhancement of necrotic lesions, we found almost the entire spectrum of MRI findings in this patient with methanol poisoning. Neurological sequelae can entail the course and prognosis in methanol poisoning. The patient died because of ventilator-associated pneumonia that developed in the course of prolonged hospitalization.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / complications*
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning / diagnosis
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning / etiology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / etiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Methanol / poisoning*
  • Neuroimaging / methods
  • Putaminal Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Putaminal Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Unconsciousness / etiology*


  • Methanol