Marsha D. Ford Lead
Acute metal and metalloid toxicity is an uncommon clinical entity that can be a cause of significant morbidity and mortality if unrecognized and inappropriately treated. Because of their effects on numerous enzymatic systems in the body, the metals and metalloids often present with protean manifestations primarily affecting four systems: neurologic, gastrointestinal, hematologic, and renal. Effects on the endocrine and reproductive systems are less clinically apparent. One should be familiar with the toxic manifestations of the most common metals and metalloids—lead, arsenic, and mercury—in order to appropriately diagnose poisoned patients. It is important to recognize an initial "index case" in order to prevent others from being poisoned when the metal source is environmental or industrial ( Iable178:l).
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