Electrophysiologic investigation of thallium poisoning

Muscle Nerve. 1990 May;13(5):433-7. doi: 10.1002/mus.880130510.


Electrophysiologic findings in thallium intoxication are usually untimely, limited in extent, and often uninformative. This report documents serial conduction and electromyographic findings in a case of thallium poisoning, beginning 10 days after symptom onset and ending 24 months later. Initially, the plantar nerves in the foot demonstrated profound axonal loss while the sural and peroneal nerves were essentially normal. The latter two nerves subsequently underwent axonal loss. Two years were required for the sural and peroneal nerves to display recovery. At 24 months, the plantar nerves continue to remain absent. A primarily distal axonopathy, significantly worse in the lower than upper extremities and requiring more than 2 years for recovery, now documents what was previously speculated: the electrophysiologic course of thallium intoxication. Additionally, this case emphasizes the need to examine the plantar nerves of the foot to avoid missing distal axonopathies during the early course of the disease process. The clinical course and pathophysiology of thallium poisoning are also reviewed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Axons / pathology
  • Axons / physiology
  • Biopsy
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Conduction
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Sural Nerve / pathology
  • Sural Nerve / physiopathology
  • Thallium / poisoning*


  • Thallium