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  • Writer's pictureNina Dmitreff

Severe elemental mercury poisoning managed with selenium and N-acetylcysteine administration

"A healthy 15-year-old male spilled elemental mercury contaminating his garage and bedroom. The patient developed new onset hypertension, significant weight loss, pain (muscular, testicular, and abdominal), insomnia, delusions, hallucinations, tachycardia, palmar desquamation, diaphoresis, tremor, and ataxia leading to two consecutive hospitalizations. Blood and urine mercury were 23 and 330 mg/L, respectively. He received 21 days of chelation with 2,3-Dimercaptosuccinic acid during his second hospital stay. He continued to deteriorate. Three weeks post-chelation, he was transferred to our facility and his exam was unchanged. He could not stand or feed himself unassisted. He was started on selenium 500 mcg/day and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) 50 mg/kg/day. By day 3 of Se and NAC, he showed noticeable improvement, and by day 11, delusions, delirium, tachycardia, and abdominal pain resolved. Muscle strength, weight gain, speech, unassisted ambulation, and emotional liability improved. After five months with Se and NAC (1) he had regained 45 pounds, (2) restored to premorbid emotional, academic, and athletic performance, and (3) tachycardia, hypertension, rash, palmar skin changes, tremor, and insomnia had resolved. Features of this case include (1) improvement after selenium and NAC supplementation (2) contrasted with continued deterioration after DMSA chelation."

Source: Toxicology Communications

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