Friday, August 10, 2012

Mercury Emoblism to the Lung

Nonthrombotic pulmonary emboli are rare and the imaging findings are specific to the origin of the embolus. Types of nonthrombotic emboli include septic emboli, fat emboli, amniotic fluid emboli, and air emboli. Iodinated oil emboli have been reported after transcatheter chemoembolization of hepatocellular carcinoma. Substances such as talc used in preparation of amphetamines by drug addicts can also embolize to the pulmonary arterial tree.

The above image is from a patient who attempted suicide via intravenous mercury injection. The xray image shows multiple metallic spherules throughout both lungs which is the typical imaging appearance for mercury emboli.

Han D, Lee KS, Franquet T, et al. Thrombotic and nonthrombotic pulmonary arterial embolism: spectrum of imaging findings. Radiographics. 2003 November;23:1521-39.
Rossi SE, Goodman PC, Franquet T. Nonthrombotic pulmonary emboli. AJR Am J Roentgenol 2000;174:1499-1508.

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