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Acute lead poisoning: a diagnostic challenge in the emergency department
  1. Bharath Gopinath,
  2. Vignan Kappagantu,
  3. Roshan Mathew and
  4. Nayer Jamshed
  1. Emergency Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, Delhi, India
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nayer Jamshed; jamshednayer{at}


Acute abdominal pain is a common presentation to the emergency department (ED). Ruling out life-threatening causes and giving pain relief are the most important tasks in ED. We describe a 32-year-old man who presented to ED with abdominal pain and vomiting which was unrelieved by usual doses of analgesic. Extensive investigations revealed no significant abnormalities. On further probing, he admitted taking traditional medications for infertility. The toxicological panel revealed a high blood lead level, leading to a diagnosis of acute lead toxicity. Chelation therapy with D-penicillamine was initiated and the patient’s abdominal pain resolved within 4 days.

  • poisoning
  • resuscitation

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  • Contributors BG, VK and RM were involved in patient management. BG wrote the first draft of the manuscript, and NJ reviewed and edited the final version. All authors take full responsibility of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.