Acute encephalopathy and death due to petrol sniffing: neuropathological findings

Aust N Z J Med. 1986 Dec;16(6):804-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-5994.1986.tb00043.x.


A 25 year old man with a five year history of petrol sniffing developed an acute encephalopathy with abnormal body movements and died of aspiration pneumonia. Neuropathological findings included chromatolysis of neurons in the reticular formation and cerebral cortex and loss of neurons in the h3-5 sector of Ammon's horn and the cerebellum. Toxicological studies suggest that the encephalopathy is caused by the tetraethyl-lead additive in the petrol. These data support previous human and experimental studies.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Atrophy
  • Brain Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Brain Diseases / pathology
  • Cerebellum / pathology*
  • Gasoline*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organometallic Compounds / poisoning*
  • Petroleum*
  • Pneumonia, Aspiration / chemically induced
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Tetraethyl Lead / poisoning*


  • Gasoline
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Petroleum
  • Tetraethyl Lead