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J Emerg Med. 1998 Jan-Feb;16(1):45-56.

Heavy metal toxicity, Part I: arsenic and mercury.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Maricopa Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona, USA.


This review is Part I of a two-part series focusing on heavy metal toxicity. Part I will cover arsenic and mercury toxicity. Acute and chronic arsenic toxicity, as well as arsine gas toxicity, will be reviewed. The clinical presentation, with focus on the nervous, cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, hepatic, renal, hematopoietic, and dermatologic systems, is delineated. Mercury exposure, including exposure to short chain alkyl mercury, elemental mercury, and acute inorganic salt, is reviewed. The discussion of clinical toxicity focuses on the nervous, cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, and renal systems, as well as on the teratogenic effects of mercury. Recommendations for diagnostic tests and management plans are discussed, including chelation regimens.

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