Potassium cyanide poisoning is a result of exposure to potassium cyanide, which is hazardous to human health because it produces hydrogen cyanide gas, a very deadly chemical asphyxiant that interferes with the body’s capacity to utilize oxygen. Exposure may be quickly lethal. Potassium cyanide is a chemical compound with the formula KCN. This sugar-like-looking, colorless, crystalline salt is extremely soluble in water and has a high level of toxicity. The main applications for KCN are in organic synthesis, electroplating, and gold mining. Smaller uses include chemical polishing and gilding for jewelry.

Moreover, due to hydrolysis, the wet solid releases trace quantities of hydrogen cyanide, which has a possible almond-bitter odor. But not everyone has the capacity to smell cyanide; it is a hereditary feature. Potassium cyanide has been characterized as having an acidic, bitter taste and a burning feeling like lye. Potassium cyanide poisoning could be through, ingestion, inhalation, eye contact, or skin contact.


Hypertension and a trapezoidal heart rate may be the first signs and symptoms of potassium cyanide poisoning, followed by hypotension and a slow heartbeat. Other symptoms include:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Burning of the mouth and throat
  • Eye and skin irritation
  • Giddiness
  • Agitation
  • Vertigo
  • Headache
  • Unresponsive and dilated pupils
  • Bulging eyes
  • Paralysis
  • Convulsions
  • Combative behavior
  • Lung bleeding and pulmonary edema
  • Respiratory depression after tachypnea
  • Cyanosis
  • Cardiac problems like heart arrhythmia


The diagnosis of Green Tobacco Sickness (GTS) is typically made based on the individual’s symptoms and history of exposure to wet tobacco leaves. Here are some of the ways that healthcare providers may diagnose GTS:

  • Physical examination. A healthcare provider may perform a physical exam to check for symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and difficulty breathing.
  • Exposure history. Healthcare providers may ask questions about the individual’s work history.
  • Laboratory tests. Laboratory tests may be performed to check for levels of nicotine and cotinine in the blood, urine, or saliva. Nicotine and cotinine are metabolites of nicotine and are used to confirm exposure to tobacco. 
  • Differential diagnosis. Healthcare providers may consider other possible causes of the individual’s symptoms, such as food poisoning, heat exhaustion, or viral gastroenteritis. 


If you suspect potassium cyanide poisoning, get the victims outside. It’s not also recommended for emergency workers to self-expose to potassium cyanide.

  • Assess the patients vital signs, including pulse and respiration rate. If no pulse is found, do CPR.
  • Give sufferers 100% oxygen immediately. Check victims’ breathing.
  • Use a mask to avoid self-poisoning. Self-poisoning may occur if you eat potassium cyanide-contaminated food.

Related Articles


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), formerly known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, is [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Juvenile polyposis syndrome (JPS) is a rare genetic disorder characterized by [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma (JPA) is a relatively common type of brain [...]