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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mercuric oxide poisoning treated with whole-bowel irrigation and chelation therapy.

Most reported cases of inorganic mercury poisoning are from mercuric chloride. We report a case of mercuric oxide (HgO) powder ingestion. A 31-year-old man presented to an emergency department after ingestion of approximately 40 g of HgO. Soon after ingestion, he developed nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramping. Abdominal radiograph revealed densely radiopaque material in the stomach. Gastrointestinal decontamination was accomplished with activated charcoal and whole-bowel irrigation with polyethylene glycol solution (Golytely) for 24 hours until repeat abdominal radiographs no longer demonstrated the substance in the gastrointestinal tract. He was also chelated with British anti-Lewisite for 5 days, followed by succimer for 10 days. He had markedly elevated urine and blood mercury levels after ingestion, but except for a mildly depressed serum bicarbonate (19 mEq/L), his chemistry results remained normal including blood urea nitrogen and creatinine. He had an uncomplicated hospital course and remained asymptomatic at 6 months postingestion. Despite elevated urine and blood mercury levels after ingestion of HgO, our patient did not develop the end-organ toxicity typical of inorganic mercury poisoning.[1]


  1. Mercuric oxide poisoning treated with whole-bowel irrigation and chelation therapy. Ly, B.T., Williams, S.R., Clark, R.F. Annals of emergency medicine. (2002) [Pubmed]
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