What is included in the emergency department (ED) treatment of heavy metal toxicity?

Updated: Dec 31, 2020
  • Author: Adefris Adal, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Sage W Wiener, MD  more...
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Answer

Removal of the patient from the source of exposure is critical to limiting dose.

Treatment may include whole-bowel irrigation with polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution if radiographic studies show evidence of retained metal (toys, coins, paint chips) in the gastrointestinal tract.

Resuscitation

Good supportive care is critical. Ensure airway patency and protection, provide mechanical ventilation where necessary, correct dysrhythmias, replace fluid and electrolytes (significant fluid losses generally occur and require aggressive rehydration), and monitor and treat the sequelae of organ dysfunction.


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