The Cardiac Effects of Cyanide
The relative importance of different organ systems has been studied in cyanide intoxication. As early as 1780, Fontana demonstrated that cyanide stopped the heart sooner than other poisons he employed. Because a slow ventricular rate can still be detected subsequent to respiratory arrest, it has been proposed that cardiac arrest is not the cause of death from cyanide (see Paulet, 1955). However, this slow heart rate may not be physiologically adequate to sustain life. Paulet ( 1955) compared pulmonary and cardiac toxicities under well-controlled conditions and came to the conclusion that a cardiac death from cyanide was more likely to occur. The information in this review establishes a basic compilation of papers on the cardiac toxicology of cyanide to provide evidence that cardiac malfunction is an important toxic effect of cyanide.