Mercury pulmonary emboli following intravenous self-injection

Br J Dis Chest. 1987 Jan;81(1):76-9. doi: 10.1016/0007-0971(87)90111-2.


The attempted intravenous injection of metallic mercury resulted in multiple mercury pulmonary emboli. Few of the abnormalities of respiratory or renal function reported previously were demonstrated. In particular the isotope ventilation/perfusion scan was unhelpful in confirming the diagnosis. Extravasation of mercury at the injection site produced a severe local inflammatory reaction and in the presence of toxic blood mercury levels surgical excision was undertaken. The blood mercury levels fell significantly but remain elevated within the toxic range to date. This may be due to the continued absorption of embolized mercury. The long-term effects of chronically elevated blood mercury levels is unknown.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mercury Poisoning / complications*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / chemically induced*
  • Self Administration
  • Suicide, Attempted