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Clinical experience of acute ferric chloride poisoning



Clinical experience of acute ferric chloride poisoning



Veterinary and Human Toxicology 45(5): 243-246



Ferric chloride is both a corrosive acid and iron compound; reports of poisoning in humans are rare. A retrospective study was conducted to evaluate patients with ferric chloride exposure reported to Poison Control Center-Taipei Veterans General Hospital during 1990-2001. After exclusion of incomplete records, 16 patients with ferric chloride exposure were analyzed (9 male, 7 female aged 12 to 70 y). The exposures were occupational inhalation (18.7%), suicidal ingestion (56.3%), and accidental ingestion (25.0%). Major symptoms and signs were nausea/vomiting (68.8%), sore throat (68.8%), abdominal pain (37.5%), oral ulcers (37.5%), metabolic acidosis (25.0%), aspiration pneumonia (18.8%), respiratory failure (12.5%), diarrhea (12.5%), and hypotension (12.5%). The severity of poisonings were fatal 6.3%, severe 18.8%, moderate 31.2%, mild 37.5%, and asymptomatic 6.3%. Deferoxamine therapy was given in 9 hospitalized patients with good recovery; however the fatal case did not receive deferoxamine due to rapid deterioration and a late diagnosis. The serum iron level known in 7 cases ranged from 40 to 2440 microg/dL. Ingestion of ferric chloride may result in serious morbidity and mortality. Inappropriate labeling and storage lead to accidental swallowing or misdiagnosis. Early diagnosis is important, especially in seriously poisoned patients.

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Accession: 010330257

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PMID: 14513891


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