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Acute liver failure due to iron overdose in an adult.

Authors
  • Daram, Sumanth R
  • Hayashi, Paul H
Type
Published Article
Journal
Southern medical journal
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2005
Volume
98
Issue
2
Pages
241–244
Identifiers
PMID: 15759960
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The vast majority of acute iron toxicity cases occur in children less than 5 years of age. Moreover, clinical hepatic injury is uncommon with most symptoms stemming from the intestinal tract (eg, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). Therefore, physicians, particularly those who do not routinely treat pediatric patients, are often unfamiliar with hepatotoxicity related to iron overdose. Nevertheless, hepatotoxicity caused by acute iron poisoning is associated with a high mortality rate. We report a case of severe hepatic injury in an adult who overdosed on iron tablets with suicidal intent. Tests for other hepatotoxins (eg, acetaminophen), hepatatrophic viruses, and other causes of acute liver injury were negative. Although peak serum iron level (340 microg/dL) was significantly lower than that reported to cause hepatotoxicity (>1,700 microg/dL), rapid and significant elevations in aminotransferases (>4,000 U/L), total bilirubin (5 mg/dL), and prothrombin time (50 seconds) occurred within 48 hours. Treatment with deferoxamine was prompt and followed by empiric N-acetylcysteine once liver injury was apparent. The patient was minimally symptomatic and she eventually had a full recovery.

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