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July 1974

Removal of Mercury by Peritoneal Dialysis

Author Affiliations


From the departments of medicine and pharmacology, Temple University Health Sciences Center, Philadelphia. Dr. Lowenthal is now with the Clinical Nephrology Service, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC.

Arch Intern Med. 1974;134(1):139-141. doi:10.1001/archinte.1974.00320190141023

Acute poisoning with mercury bichloride is not common today. Recently, we had the opportunity to treat a hospital employee within minutes after he ingested 4 to 8 gm of mercury bichloride. Nevertheless, he developed acute renal failure. In conjunction with peritoneal dialysis we were able to collect and analyze data on the peritoneal clearance of mercury.

Patient Summary  A 35-year-old male hospital pharmacy employee ingested 4 to 8 gm of mercury bichloride and several glutethimide (Doriden) tablets. He was immediately taken to the emergency ward; gastric lavage with sodium bicarbonate and milk was begun within five minutes of ingestion and 350 mg of dimercaprol (BAL) was given intramuscularly within 30 minutes. The gastric lavage initially returned copious amounts of bluish tinted material but soon turned bloody. Within several minutes the patient was complaining of burning abdominal pain and excessive salivation.The patient had been hospitalized for hypertension and mental depression

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