Original Article

A Rare Type of Suicide Attempt in East Turkey: Acute Zinc Phosphide Poisoning


  • Mehmet Tahir Gökdemir
  • Halil Kaya
  • Özgür Söğüt
  • Murat Orak
  • Mehmet Üstündağ
  • Mehmet Karasu

Received Date: 13.06.2012 Accepted Date: 15.06.2012 Eurasian J Emerg Med 2013;12(2):76-79


The purpose of this study was to predict the clinic and demographic profile of patients who attempt suicide by poisoning with zinc phosphide.

Material and Methods:

All cases presenting to the ED from January 1st 2009 to April 30th 2011 due to Acute Zinc Phosphide Poisoning were retrospectively reviewed.


All cases had taken the pharmaceutical product in an attempt to commit suicide. The average age of the cases was 25.4 years. Sixteen of the cases were female (76%), and five (24%) were male; all of the cases who died were female. In terms of marital status, 4 (19%) of the cases were single or unmarried. A total of 8 (38%) cases were unconscious and had low pH levels (<7.35), and 9 (43%) cases had signs of shock, such as hypotension and tachycardia. The average level of bicarbonate in the arterial blood gas of the cases was 23.20 mmol/L and the average amount of time (admission time) taken to bring the patients from the place where they were poisoned to the ED was 2.40 hours. According to the autopsy results of the dead patients, there were findings of liver congestion, liver necrosis, pancreatic edema and hemorrhagic points together with inflammation in the kidneys.


Although it is a rare form of suicide attempt, the mortality rate for patients with zinc phosphide poisoning is high. Early resuscitation can have positive effects on morbidity and mortality. Patients who suffer from zinc phosphide poisoning must be monitored under intensive care conditions.

Keywords: Suicide attempt, zinc phosphide, poisoning, emergency department