Iron salts

Iron poisoning in childhood is usually accidental. The symptoms are nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, haematemesis, and rectal bleeding. Hypotension and hepatocellular necrosis can occur later. Coma, shock, and metabolic acidosis indicate severe poisoning.

Advice should be sought from the National Poisons Information Service if a significant quantity of iron has been ingested within the previous hour.

Mortality is reduced by intensive and specific therapy with desferoxamine, which chelates iron. The serum-iron concentration is measured as an emergency and intravenous desferoxamine given to chelate absorbed iron in excess of the expected iron binding capacity. In severe toxicity intravenous desferrioxamine should be given immediately without waiting for the result of the serum-iron measurement.


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