What is the role of abdominal radiography in the workup of lead toxicity?

Updated: Jan 16, 2020
  • Author: Pranay Kathuria, MD, FACP, FASN, FNKF; Chief Editor: Tarakad S Ramachandran, MBBS, MBA, MPH, FAAN, FACP, FAHA, FRCP, FRCPC, FRS, LRCP, MRCP, MRCS  more...
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Answer

Obtain a radiograph of the abdomen in children with suspected elevated lead levels. In selected cases, abdominal radiographs may demonstrate lead-containing paint chips or other lead-containing objects (see the image below). Retained lead objects within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract are an acute emergency and should prompt referral for potential removal. A radiograph also helps guide therapy aimed at preventing further absorption through GI decontamination.

Abdominal flat plate showing multiple radiopaque f Abdominal flat plate showing multiple radiopaque foreign bodies, including paint chips and earring.

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