Which clinical history findings are characteristic of smoke inhalation caused by Teflon particles?

Updated: Oct 15, 2021
  • Author: Keith A Lafferty, MD; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Answer

Exposure to smoke containing Teflon particles may result in influenzalike illness, with malaise, fever (at times to 104°F), chills, sore throat, sweating, and chest tightness 1-4 hours postexposure. These symptoms usually resolve 24-48 hours after the patient is removed from the source.

More intensely exposed individuals complain of dyspnea on exertion, orthopnea, and later, dyspnea at rest. Cough productive of bloody sputum occasionally is seen. Some animal studies have demonstrated disseminated intravascular coagulation and other organ involvement, but this may be due to global hypoxia, since this occurred only in animals with severe lung damage.

Cases of polymer fume fever from pyrolysis of Teflon have been reported in persons exposed to pyrolyzed hairspray and horse-rug waterproofing spray and in one individual smoking hand-rolled cigarettes after working with dry lubricant. [39]


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