New Delhi: Liquefied Petroleum Gas-operated geysers in ill-ventilated rooms are not only causing brief loss of consciousness, but also resulting in seizures, epilepsy, cardiac arrest and early onset of Parkinson's, a new study has revealed.

The two-year study was conducted after detailed documentation of signs and symptoms in 26 cases, where people reported unexplained bouts of fainting while bathing using hot water from gas geysers. It was found that the installation of the geysers often happened without complying with prescribed guidelines.

The study, conducted by the department of neurology of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here, revealed that of the total of 26 such cases studied over two years, seizure-like episodes were seen in 11 patients; and 13 were found poisoned with the harmful carbon monoxide (CO) gas -- four patients poisoned with CO also showed signs of "near cardiac arrest".

Dubbing the flueless (needing no chimney) gas geysers as "modern-day gas chambers", the study also found that CO poisoning was a "precipitating factor" for epilepsy in two patients.

There were also two patients who developed early Parkinson's-type symptoms.  The study, however, found that the problem was limited to flueless gas gysers, which consume the air available in the bathroom and release the poisonous carbon monoxide.

The study, conducted between 2008 and 2010, has been published in the latest issue of Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology. It has been jointly authored by Pamela Correia, Chandrashekhar Aggarwal and Rajeev Ranjan, all from the department of neurology of the Delhi hospital.

"The gas geyser is a very useful gadget. However, the cases we have studied revealed that the problem arises only when the geyser is installed without complying with prescribed guidelines. The ideal place to install such geysers is an open compound, so that the poisonous gas does not accumulate," Aggarwal said.

The researchers noted that none of the patients had a history of seizures, stroke, head injury, or cardiovascular risk factor for syncope or panic attacks. "Hence the evidence, though not infallible, offers a strong suggestion that the root cause of these events could be the gas geysers", the study observed.

Inadequate combustion of LPG due to inadequate ventilation leads to accumulation of mainly carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide. The clinical feature of CO poisoning includes headache, dizziness and a sense of confusion. However, it can lead to seizures and coma in case of prolonged exposure, the researchers said.

(Agencies)

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