Hanoi woman loses feelings in limbs after three years on laughing gas

By Thuy Quynh   January 29, 2024 | 06:01 pm PT
A hospital in Hanoi is treating a 20-year-old woman that was admitted for losing feelings in her legs while her arms were numb after she spent three years inhaling laughing gas.

Dr Doan Du Manh, a member of the Vietnam Vascular Disease Association (VNVDA), said on Monday that when the woman was brought to hospital, tests showed that her spinal cord was damaged, causing cartilage tissue, intervertebral discs, and vertebral bones to be seriously damaged.

After that, doctors learned that she has been using nitrous oxide balloons constantly over the past three years.

Manh, however, did not say where she is receiving treatment.

Nitrous oxide balloons, also known as "funky balls," are balloons filled with nitrous oxide, which can be inhaled for recreational purposes. Inhaling nitrous oxide may cause euphoria and slight hallucinations but can also cause neurological damage.

Prolonged use of nitrous oxide can lead to poisoning, nerve damage and potentially coma and death.

The Ministry of Health banned nitrous oxide for recreational purposes in 2019. In Vietnam, nitrous oxide, also known as "laughing gas," may only be manufactured for industrial purposes. Ingestion by humans is prohibited unless prescribed by doctors.

The patient in this case is being treated with vitamin B12 injections and oral methionine.

Manh said that most young people who go to the doctor hide their history of using laughing gas, so many doctors cannot find the cause of related disease.

He also many people did not pay attention to the harmful effects of the gas because they think it is safe and does not cause addiction like other drugs such as alcohol, or marijuana.

According to researches only 47% of cases of nerve damage caused by the gas recover completely after treatment.

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