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April 1964

Acute Iron Intoxication: Treatment With Desferrioxamine (Ba-29837)

Author Affiliations

Anthony V. Pisciotta, MD, Marquette University School of Medicine, Milwaukee County Hospital, Milwaukee, Wis 53233.; Trainee in Hematology, United States Public Health Service, Instructor in Medicine, Marquette University School of Medicine (Dr. Santos); Associate Professor of Medicine, Marquette University School of Medicine, Attending Hematologist, Milwaukee County Hospital (Dr. Pisciotta).

Am J Dis Child. 1964;107(4):424-427. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1964.02080060426016

Many physicians are not aware of the seriousness of poisoning with the ferrous and ferric salts of iron. At the turn of the century, before iron therapy became widespread, there were few reports of iron intoxication. However, with the increased clinical use of iron, there has been an alarming increase in the incidence of iron toxicity.

One of the first of these was the report by Forbes, in 1947,1 of two fatal cases of ferrous sulfate poisoning in children. In Great Britain, iron is considered the most important single cause of poisoning in children.2 Cumulative experience discloses close to 50% mortality in dosage ranges from 2 to 4 gm of orally ingested iron 3 in children.

Because of the high mortality rate associated with iron toxicity, a more effective form of treatment is required. A number of approaches have been directed toward chelation of free iron in order