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ACUTE EXPOSURE INFORMATION
- Mercuric chloride is one of the most toxic mercury salts. This review is based on the properties of inorganic mercury compounds in general, except where specific effects have been attributed to mercuric chloride.
- Mercuric salts are corrosive and nephrotoxic. Salivation, metallic taste, abdominal pain, seizures, proteinuria, and nephrotic syndrome (oliguria and anuria) may occur. Circulatory collapse, bloody diarrhea, and acute renal failure have been reported following peritoneal lavage with mercuric chloride.
- Mercury compounds can be absorbed by inhalation and through the skin. The principal concerns from acute inorganic mercury poisoning are sudden, profound circulatory collapse with tachycardia, hypotension and peripheral vasoconstriction, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. Renal failure usually develops within 24 hours and may be life-threatening.
- The brain is the critical organ for chronic inorganic mercury poisoning. Tremor and psychological changes encompassing increased irritability and sensitivity, xenophobia, insomnia, hallucinations, and mania may occur. Eventually there is spongeous degeneration of the brain with loss of many higher functions.
- When mercury poisoning is suspected in critically ill patients, chelation therapy should be started regardless of the form of mercury causing toxicity.
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