Fulminant is any event or process which occurs suddenly, quickly and is intense and severe to the point of lethality, i.e, it has an explosive character. The word comes from
Latin"fulmināre", to strike with lightning. It is most used in medicine, and there are several diseases which have this adjective:
* Fulminant liver failure
* Fulminant hepatic venous thrombosis (
hemorrhagic fevers, such as Ebola, Lassa feverand Lábrea fevermay kill in as short a time as 2 to 5 days. Diseases that cause rapidly-developing lung edema, such as some kinds of pneumonia, may kill in a few hours. For example, it was said of the black death(pneumonic bubonic plague) that some of its victims would die in a matter of hours after the initial symptoms appeared. Other pathologic conditions that may be fulminating in character are acute respiratory distress syndrome, asthma, acute anaphylaxis, septic shockand disseminated intravascular coagulation.
The most rapid deaths are those provoked by massive body trauma, such as in an
explosion, smashing of the whole body, etc., and, of course, by being hit by lightning. Following this, localized acute trauma to the heartand to the brain (such as by putting a bulletthrough them), are also almost instantaneously lethal. " Commotio cordis" is a sudden cardiac arrest caused by a blunt, non-penetrating trauma to the precordium, which causes ventricular fibrillationof the heart, and it is often observed in young athletes in some sports. Then, cardiac arrestand strokein certain parts of the brain, such as in the brainstem(which controls cardiovascular and respiratory systemfunctions), and massive hemorrhageof the great arteries (such as in perforation of the walls by trauma or by sudden opening of an aneurysmof the aorta) may be very quick, death ensuing in less than one minute. Sudden infant death syndrome(SIDS) is still a mysterious cause of respiratory arrest in infants.
toxins, such as cyanidemay also provoke fulminant death. Abrupt hyperkalemiaprovoked by intravenous injection of potassium chlorideleads to fulminant death by cardiac arrest.
* To fulminate is to hurl verbal denunciations, severe criticisms, or menacing comments at someone, or to kill by lightning. Thus, the Greek god
Zeusis commonly represented holding a bunch of lightning bolts in one of his hands, which he used to fulminate mortals he wanted to kill.
Fulminates are a class of mercury-based explosives used in detonatorcaps, due to the startling suddenness with which they explode.
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