Aluminum intoxication developed in three infants with azotemia who were not undergoing dialysis and who had been treated with aluminum hydroxide from the first month of life. Biopsies of the iliac crest demonstrated the presence of severe osteomalacia and massive deposition of aluminum in the bone. Serum aluminum levels were significantly (P<0.001) higher in these 3 infants and in 1 other, all of whom received more than 100 mg of elemental aluminum per kilogram of body weight per day (mean ± SD., 371.0 ± 178.9 ng per millileter [13.75 ± 6.6 μmol per liter]) than they were in 8 older children with azotemia who were not undergoing dialysis and who received less than 100 mg of elemental aluminum per kilogram per day (27.0 ± 18.6 ng per milliliter [1.0 ± 0.68 μmol per liter]), 7 such children who did not receive aluminum hydroxide (20.28 ± 9.2 ng per milliliter [0.75 ± 0.34 μmol per liter]), and 16 children with normal renal function (21.04 ± 4.9 ng per milliliter [0.78 ± 0.18 μmol per liter]). In all the children with azotemia who were treated with aluminum hydroxide, there was a positive correlation (r = 0.90: P<0.01) between the serum aluminum level and the daily dose of elemental aluminum. These studies indicate that gastrointestinal absorption of aluminum can lead to aluminum intoxication in children with azotemia, and that infants may be particularly susceptible to this complication of therapy.
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