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Article
April 1954

PERIPHERAL EMBOLISM BY METALLIC MERCURY DURING ARTERIAL BLOOD SAMPLING: Report of Two Cases

Author Affiliations

WEST HAVEN, CONN.; NEW YORK

From the Department of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and tne Presbyterian Hospital and the Research Service, New York University Division, Goldwater Memorial Hospital.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1954;93(4):550-555. doi:10.1001/archinte.1954.00240280070007
Abstract

ANAEROBIC* blood sampling from a peripheral vessel is a useful and often essential procedure in many diagnostic and experimental studies. Stadie1 originally used mineral oil in the syringe to prevent contact between the blood and air. During the past 10 years the technique of sealing heparinized syringes with metallic mercury has been widely employed. The purpose of the present report is to point out an inherent danger in this technique which has apparently not been appreciated. In two different laboratories peripheral embolism has resulted from the accidental introduction of mercury into the arterial stream during blood sampling when syringes were prepared in the accepted manner.

PREPARATION OF SYRINGES  Two or three drops of metallic mercury were added to 20 cc. heparinized Luer-Lok syringes. Excess mercury was expressed prior to sampling by inverting the syringe and slowly advancing the plunger as far as possible, so that only the nozzle and

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