Fatal lead encephalopathy following foreign body ingestion: case report

J Emerg Med. 1988 Sep-Oct;6(5):397-400. doi: 10.1016/0736-4679(88)90013-3.


A 23-month-old female child presented to an emergency department with a mild, nonspecific gastrointestinal illness and periodic fussiness and irritability; the initial physical examination was nonfocal and nondiagnostic. Rapid decompensation quickly ensued. Postmortem examination of hematologic laboratory data and reevaluation of radiographs showed a metallic foreign body in the stomach. Diagnosis of rapidly fatal lead encephalopathy was confirmed by finding toxic serum lead and elevated delta-aminolevulinic (ALA) levels in postmortem blood.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Brain Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Digestive System*
  • Female
  • Foreign Bodies / complications*
  • Household Products
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lead Poisoning / diagnosis
  • Lead Poisoning / etiology*