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J Natl Med Assoc. 2003 Oct;95(10):986-90.

Gunshot-induced plumbism in an adult male.

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Department of Internal Medicine, King-Drew Medical Center/Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, CA 90059, USA.


Our objective is to present a case of symptomatic lead toxicity (plumbism) with abdominal colic and hemolytic anemia following a gunshot wound. It is a retrospective case report and the setting is in a teaching hospital in south central Los Angeles. The case report is that of a patient who presented with abdominal pain, generalized weakness, and hypertension following multiple gunshot wounds, 15 years previously. Other causes of abdominal pain and weakness--such as diabetes mellitus, alcohol abuse, pancreatitis, and substance abuse--were ruled out. Interventions included treatment with the newer oral chelating agent, Succimer (2, 3-dimercaptosuccinic acid), and subsequent surgery. The main outcome was the initial reduction in blood lead levels with improvement of symptoms. Because of a recurrent rise in the blood lead levels, the patient was again treated with Succimer and underwent surgery to remove two bullet fragments from the face. We conclude that lead toxicity should be ruled out in patients presenting with abdominal cramps and a history of a gunshot wound. Prompt therapy--including environmental intervention and chelation therapy--is mandatory, and surgical intervention may be necessary.

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