Intossicazione acuta da piombo: un caso singolare di anemia emolitica e colica saturnina / Acute lead poisoning: a singular case of hemolytic anemia and lead colic

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M. Corradi
M. Goldoni
M. Sabbadini et al.

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Abstract

Ā«Acute lead poisoning: a singular case of hemolytic anemia and lead colicĀ». Background: Acute lead poisoning due to food intake is exceptional in adults and often associated with mental illness Objectives: to describe a case report of acute lead intoxication with haemolytic anemia and lead colic. Methods: A 41-year old male patient was admitted to hospital for abdominal pain and persistent constipation. Abdominal X-ray showed a radiopaque mass in the caecum and progressive anaemia was observed. The patient was discharged with a diagnosis of bowel obstruction. Due to persistence of the symptoms he was again hospitalized; abdominal X-ray showed diffuse radiopaque particles in the colon and haemoglobin (hb) had dropped to 8.7 g/dl. Blood levels of lead and zinc protoporphryin were 106.7 mg/dl and 6.6 mg/gHb, respectively. The timely start of chelating therapy led to a rapid return to normal peripheral blood counts and a decline in blood lead levels. Results: Although acute lead poisoning due to intake with food is exceptional in adults and often associated with mental illness ,in this case, it was not possible to clarify the route and vehicle of ingestion of the toxic. Lead body burden was shown as a caecal mass, probably as a result of ingesting a single bolus of lead dust which, considering the size and density of the mass, was estimated as weighing several grammes. This acute lead intake induced an acute haemolysis due to enhanced fragility of the erythrocyte membrane. Conclusions: In the course of acute lead intoxication, the critical organ is not the bone marrow, but rather the red blood cell, leading to haemolysis and anaemia.
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