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January 1960

Myocardial Changes in Lead Poisoning

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology, The Michael Reese Hospital.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1960;99(1):48-54. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1960.02070030050009

Angina pectoris in patients with chronic lead poisoning has been mentioned briefly in the literature since 1829, when Andral, as quoted by Hirschfeld,5 described symptoms of palpitation, dyspnea, and generalized precordial discomfort in such patients. Hirschfeld,5 in 1926, coined the term "angina pectoris saturnina" and believed that this was the result of spasm of the coronary vessels brought about by the effects of lead. The patients whom he described were between 20 and 30 years old. There were no autopsies. Sporadic cases appeared in the literature since that time (Sessa and Guarino11). More recently, Read and Williams8 studied a case of lead poisoning in which the patient had complained of substernal pain. The electrocardiograph revealed marked depression of the conduction system and T-wave abnormalities. The patient subsequently recovered, and thereafter his electrocardiographs were within normal limits. In two other patients with plumbism Read and Williams

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