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Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Jul;98(29):e16471. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000016471.

Clinical characteristics and treatment of thallium poisoning in patients with delayed admission in China.

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Poisoning Treatment Department, Affiliated Hospital Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Beijing.
State Key Laboratory of Toxicology and Medical Countermeasures, Institutes of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Academy of Military Medical Sciences, People's Republic of China.


Thallium is highly toxic and its effects are cumulative. The clinical symptoms of thallium poisoning are non-specific, thereby delaying admission and treatment. This study aimed to summarize the clinical features and treatment experience of patients with delayed admission who experience thallium poisoning.We conducted a retrospective descriptive analysis of patients in our hospital from 2008 to 2018 who had thallium poisoning and experienced a delay in hospital admission. The time from symptom onset to admission was assessed. The patients were divided into 3 groups and descriptive analyses of their clinical characteristics, including basic patient information, symptoms, laboratory test results, examination findings, treatment methods, outcomes, and follow-up information, were conducted.A total of 34 patients with thallium poisoning were included: 8 were admitted to the hospital early or with mild delay, 9 had a moderate delay, and 17 had a severely delayed admission. The time from illness onset to admission was 13 (interquartile range, 7.5-26) days. Some patients with delayed admission had significant symptoms associated with central nervous system damage, and changes in magnetic resonance images and electroencephalograms were also noted. After admission, all patients received Prussian blue treatment, and some patients with relatively high blood concentration received blood purification treatments. Following treatment, the blood and urine thallium concentrations of all patients decreased significantly, and their symptoms were alleviated.Our results show that delayed patient admission in cases of thallium poisoning is associated with greater risk of central nervous system damage. Use of Prussian blue combined with blood purification treatments might improve patients' conditions.

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