[Subacute arsenic poisoning]

Ann Fr Anesth Reanim. 1991;10(3):304-7. doi: 10.1016/s0750-7658(05)80838-x.
[Article in French]


A cas is reported of a 23-year-old man who voluntarily took a massive dose of arsenic (at least 8 g). In spite of the ingested amount and the acute nature of the poisoning, the patient survived 8 days. Gastrointestinal, neurologic and cardiac features were predominant including nausea, vomiting, choleroid diarrhoea, encephalopathy, peripheral neuropathy, and finally a fatal toxic cardiomyopathy. Metabolic acidosis, moderate cytolysis and an anticoagulant effect were also observed. This unique characteristic was partly due to a circulating anticoagulant with prothrombinase activity, as well as direct antivitamin K activity. Postmortem examination revealed: a congestive oesophagitis; a necrosing gastritis involving all the stomach wall; diffuse hepatic steatosis; skin lesions with vascular congestion and dermoepidermal detachment; discrete subepicardial congestive lesions. Arsenic was found in all tissues.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Arsenic / analysis
  • Arsenic Poisoning*
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / chemically induced
  • Confusion / chemically induced
  • Digestive System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polyneuropathies / chemically induced


  • Arsenic