Multi-organ system failure secondary to difluoroethane toxicity in a patient “huffing” air duster: a case report

Benjamin Fogelson, David Qu, Milind Bhagat, Paul R. Branca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inhalant misuse is a growing concern among Americans. According to recent reports by the National Institutes of Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the prevalence of teenage inhalant misuse is increasing. Of the many household items that are “huffed”, refrigerant-based propellant cleaners or air dusters, are one of the most misused. Although commonly referred to as “compressed air”, refrigerant-based propellant cleaners contain harmful fluorinated hydrocarbons, such as 1,1-difluoroethane, that have significant toxic effects when inhaled. While the central nervous system is primarily affected, there are case reports of cardiovascular, renal, hepatic, and musculoskeletal injury secondary to 1,1-difluoroethane toxicity. However, there are few cases that have presented 1,1-difluoroethane toxicity leading to multi-organ system failure in adults with a long history of inhalant misuse. We present a unique case of multi-system organ failure secondary to 1,1-difluoroethane toxicity in a middle-aged female that was “huffing” a refrigerant-based propellant aerosol duster for more than three months. This case stresses the importance of obtaining a detailed social history to identify inhalant misuse in patients that present with acute illness of unknown etiology. This case also highlights the importance of early communication with toxicology professionals for treatment and supportive care recommendations in patients presenting the life-threatening 1,1-difluoroethane toxicity. Furthermore, this case demonstrates that 1,1-difluoroethane toxicity in the setting of “huffing” air duster has the potential to cause multi-organ system failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-582
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Addictive Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) reported there is no funding associated with the work featured in this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • 1,1-difluoroethane
  • Huffing
  • case report
  • inhalant
  • multi-organ failure

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Journal Article


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