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Iron autointoxication in a 16-year-old girl: a protective role for hepcidin?

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annals of Clinical Biochemistry An international journal of biochemistry and laboratory medicine
1758-1001
Publisher
SAGE Publications
Publication Date
Volume
50
Issue
Pt 1
Pages
76–79
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1258/acb.2012.012038
PMID: 23108765
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Intentional iron overdose appears to be an increasingly common form of attempted suicide. We present a case of iron overdose in a 16-year-old girl who was found unconscious in her bed and brought to our emergency department. The most remarkable diagnostic findings were the patient's comatose condition, divergent eye position and positive Babinski foot pad reflexes. Laboratory tests showed hyperglycaemia and mild metabolic acidosis. A computed tomography scan of the cerebrum showed no signs of intracerebral haemorrhage or elevated intracerebral pressure. Toxicology screening showed no use of acetaminophen, ethanol or drugs of abuse. The patient was stabilized and monitored on the intensive care ward. When she woke up, she confessed to having taken Fero-Gradumet(®). Retrospectively analysed, the serum iron concentration in the first blood sample (seven hours after ingestion) was 62 μmol/L which corresponds with moderate iron intoxication. The patient received whole bowel irrigation with 2 L polyethyleneglycol solution and de-ironing treatment with intravenous deferoxamine 20 mg/kg in eight hours. She was discharged from the hospital after three days in a good clinical condition. Retrospectively, serum hepcidin concentrations were determined and evaluated in conjunction with serum iron concentrations and the installed treatment. Before medical de-ironing interventions were started, we saw that the serum iron concentration in our patient was already declining. At the same time, we observed a sharp increase in the serum hepcidin concentration. After normalization of serum iron concentrations, hepcidin normalized as well.

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