Conservative management of elemental mercury retained in the appendix

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3 Scopus citations


Introduction. Few cases of mercury sequestration in the appendix appear in the literature. Based on these, both prophylactic appendectomy and non-surgical management have been recommended. We report a case in which a patient with mercury retained in the appendix was managed conservatively without developing mercurialism or appendicitis. Case Report. A 43-year-old man ingested approximately one tablespoon of elemental mercury after an argument with his wife. An initial abdominal radiograph showed mercury in the pylorus of the stomach and a follow-up x-ray at 72 hours showed mercury localized to the appendix. The patient was treated as an outpatient and examined several times over a 37-day period. He never developed signs of appendicitis. On a follow-up examination 7 months after the ingestion, he was radiographically free of mercury. Periodically throughout his clinical course, blood mercury levels were obtained. Only one, 6 days after ingestion, showed an elevated mercury level of 68 mcg/L (reference range <10 mcg/L). Despite this, the patient never developed signs or symptoms of mercury poisoning. Conclusion. Patients in whom elemental mercury is retained in the appendix, who are without symptoms and have normal gastric mucosa, may be conservatively managed without surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-833
Number of pages3
JournalClinical Toxicology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2008


  • Appendectomy
  • Appendicitis
  • Mercury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

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