Mercury (Hg) poisoning is considered a rare disease by the National Institutes of Health and the diagnosis can present great challenges to clinicians. Children who are exposed to Hg can present with a wide variety of symptoms, including acrodynia, tremor, excessive salivation, and psychiatric symptoms, including insomnia. However, endocrinologic manifestations from Hg exposure are less well known. This is a case report of a 12-year-old boy who presented with body rash, irritability, insomnia, and profuse sweating after returning from a summer camp. The child was initially managed in the outpatient setting, and the investigation was mainly targeted toward infectious etiology, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. He was eventually admitted to the hospital with altered mental status and was noted to have hyponatremia with serum sodium of 121 mEq/L. Thyroid studies also revealed elevated free thyroxine levels in the presence of normal triiodothyronine and thyrotropin. The patient developed hypertension and tachycardia, and was found to have elevated 24-hour vanillylmandelic acid and metanephrines. Finally, heavy metal measurements revealed a blood Hg level that was greater than the reference values of 0 to 9 ng/mL. Chelation treatment with 2,3-dimercaptopropane-1-sulfonate was subsequently initiated and over a period of 8 months his symptoms resolved and his thyroid function test returned to normal. This case highlights some of the challenges commonly encountered in identifying Hg exposure. More importantly, it illustrates that exposure to Hg should be considered in children who present with the symptoms and abnormal endocrinologic test results described in this report.
A Mercury Toxicity Case Complicated by Hyponatremia and Abnormal Endocrinological Test Results
POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST: The authors have indicated they have no potential conflicts of interest to disclose.
FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: The authors have indicated they have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose.
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Matthew Carter, Abdul Abdi, Fareeha Naz, Farouq Thabet, Arpita Vyas; A Mercury Toxicity Case Complicated by Hyponatremia and Abnormal Endocrinological Test Results. Pediatrics August 2017; 140 (2): e20161402. 10.1542/peds.2016-1402
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