Acute mercury poisoning with severe chronic pulmonary manifestations

Chest. 1985 Aug;88(2):306-9. doi: 10.1378/chest.88.2.306.


This report describes a patient who developed acute chemical pneumonitis following overexposure to metal mercury vapor. The exposure occurred in a gold extraction facility where a gold-mercury amalgam was heated in a confined area. Prompt treatment with penicillamine and corticosteroids was instituted; radiologic pulmonary infiltrates disappeared within a week, but there was little change in the pulmonary function abnormalities (restriction and diffusion impairment) over the period of 11 months of follow-up. This raises the possibility of persistent pulmonary function impairment after metal mercury vapor-induced chemical pneumonitis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Gold / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Mercury Poisoning / diagnostic imaging
  • Mercury Poisoning / etiology
  • Mercury Poisoning / pathology*
  • Metallurgy
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Occupational Diseases / pathology*
  • Radiography


  • Gold