Efficacy of oral administration of sodium thiosulfate in a large, swine model of oral cyanide toxicity

Patrick C. Ng, Tara B. Hendry-Hofer, Matthew Brenner, Sari B. Mahon, Gerry R. Boss, Joseph K. Maddry, Vikhyat S. Bebarta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Cyanide is a deadly poison, particularly with oral exposure where larger doses can occur before symptoms develop. Prior studies and multiple governmentagencies highlight oral cyanide as an agent with the potential for use in a terrorist attack. Currently, there are no FDA approved antidotes specific to oralcyanide. An oral countermeasure that can neutralize and prevent absorption of cyanide from the GI tract after oral exposure is needed. Our objective was toevaluate the efficacy of oral sodium thiosulfate on survival and clinical outcomes in a large, swine model of severe cyanide toxicity. Methods: Swine (45-55kg) were instrumented, sedated, and stabilized. Potassium cyanide (8 mg/kg KCN) in saline was delivered as a one-time bolus via an orogastric tube. Three minutes after cyanide, animals randomized to the treatment group received sodium thiosulfate (510 mg/kg, 3.25 M solution) via orogastric tube. Our primary outcome was survival at 60 minutes after exposure. We compared survival between groups by log-rank, Mantel-Cox analysis and trended labs and vital signs. Results: At baseline and time of treatment all animals had similar weights, vital signs, and laboratory values. Survival at 60 min was 100% in treated animals compared to 0% in the control group (p=0.0027). Animals in the control group became apneic and subsequently died by 35.0 min (20.2,48.5) after cyanide exposure. Mean arterial pressure was significantly higher in the treatment group compared to controls (p=0.008). Blood lactate (p=0.02) and oxygen saturation (p=0.02) were also significantly different between treatment and control groups at study end. Conclusion: Oral administration of sodium thiosulfate improved survival, blood pressure, respirations, and blood lactate concentrations in a large animal model of acute oral cyanide toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-264
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Medical Toxicology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Antidote
  • Countermeasure
  • Cyanide
  • Ingestion
  • Sodium thiosulfate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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