Document Detail

Anaemia and abdominal pain due to occupational lead poisoning.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17405745     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
We describe a 47-year-old patient with chronic anaemia with basophilic stippling of erythrocytes, recurrent abdominal colics, discoloration of gums, sensitive polyneuropathy to the four limbs, hyperuricaemia, hepatosteatosis with raised transaminases, and a long ignored history of lead exposure in a battery recycling plant. The diagnosis of poisoning was confirmed by high lead levels in the blood and urine, decreased erythrocyte delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALA-D), raised erythrocyte zinc protoporphyrin (ZP), and elevated urinary excretion of porphyrins. Chelation with EDTA resulted in increased urinary lead excretion, gradual improvement of the clinical picture, and progressive normalization of lead biomarkers. The case highlights the importance of occupational anamnesis for the diagnosis of lead poisoning, an uncommon condition which may mimic a variety of internal and surgical diseases. Since antiquity, lead has been extensively mined, produced, and utilized in a variety of industrial settings, such as metallurgy, construction, production of plastics, ceramics, paints and pigments. Lead and its compounds are systemic toxicants, and a wide range of adverse health effects (including haematological, gastrointestinal, neuropsychiatric, cardiovascular, renal, endocrine, and reproductive disorders) has been observed in exposed workers. The general population (particularly children) may also be exposed to toxic lead levels due to air, soil, food and water contamination. Thanks to the improvement of workplace hygienic conditions, the pathological picture of occupational lead poisoning (plumbism, saturnism) has gradually become less serious, at least in the most industrialized countries, and has progressively changed into aspecific, subclinical manifestations. We describe here an unusual case (nowadays) of anaemia and recurrent abdominal pain due to lead poisoning from battery recycling.
Rodolfo Fonte; Antonio Agosti; Fabrizio Scafa; Stefano M Candura
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Case Reports; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Haematologica     Volume:  92     ISSN:  1592-8721     ISO Abbreviation:  Haematologica     Publication Date:  2007 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-04-04     Completed Date:  2007-11-29     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0417435     Medline TA:  Haematologica     Country:  Italy    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  e13-4     Citation Subset:  IM    
Internal Medicine and Endocrinology Unit, Salvatore Maugeri Foundation, Work and Rehabilitation, IRCCS, Scientific Institute of Pavia, Italy.
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MeSH Terms
Abdominal Pain / chemically induced*
Anemia / chemically induced*
Conservation of Natural Resources*
Lead / blood,  urine
Lead Poisoning / blood,  complications*,  diagnosis,  urine
Medical History Taking*
Middle Aged
Occupational Diseases / blood,  complications*,  diagnosis,  urine
Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced
Porphobilinogen Synthase / blood
Porphyrins / urine
Protoporphyrins / blood
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Porphyrins; 0/Protoporphyrins; 15442-64-5/zinc protoporphyrin; 7439-92-1/Lead; EC Synthase

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