Document Detail

Severe hypokalemia caused by oral and rectal administration of bentonite in a pediatric patient.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16871112     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Bentonite is a clay substance that has been used as a homeopathic cathartic. Oral ingestion of bentonite in large quantities has the potential to cause gastrointestinal obstruction and electrolyte abnormalities. We present a case of severe hypokalemia in a pediatric patient who received both oral and rectal administrations of bentonite. CASE: A 3-year-old girl presented with a chief complaint of vomiting, constipation, lethargy, and weakness over several days. On initial evaluation, the child was mildly dehydrated and had a serum potassium of 0.9 mmol/L. Electrocardiographic findings were also consistent with hypokalemia. Upon further questioning, the parents reported that they had been administering a home remedy, containing colloidal bentonite, both orally and rectally as treatment for persistent constipation. The child received intravenous antibiotics, a normal saline bolus, and multiple boluses of potassium chloride, resulting in eventual normalization of her electrolyte abnormalities. CONCLUSION: Ingestion of large quantities of clay substances, such as bentonite, can result in gastrointestinal binding of essential electrolytes and possible obstruction. Symptoms and laboratory values often resolve with replacement of electrolytes and cessation of bentonite intake. Although cases of oral ingestion of clay-like substances resulting in electrolyte abnormalities have been reported, there are no previously reported human cases of hypokalemia caused specifically by bentonite administration. This may be due to the unique rectal administration seen in this child, which has not previously been described.
Amanda Bennett; Glenn Stryjewski
Publication Detail:
Type:  Case Reports; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Pediatric emergency care     Volume:  22     ISSN:  1535-1815     ISO Abbreviation:  Pediatr Emerg Care     Publication Date:  2006 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-07-27     Completed Date:  2006-11-14     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8507560     Medline TA:  Pediatr Emerg Care     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  500-2     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Administration, Oral
Administration, Rectal
Bentonite / administration & dosage,  adverse effects*
Child, Preschool
Hypokalemia / chemically induced*
Severity of Illness Index
Reg. No./Substance:

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