Arterial hypertension due to mercury poisoning

Diagnostic value of captopril].

[Article in French]

Cloarec S, Deschênes G, Sagnier M, Rolland JC, Nivet H.

Service de pédiatrie R, hôpital Gatien-de-Clocheville, Tours, France.

Arch Pediatr. 1995 Jan;2(1):43-6.





Mercury poisoning is a rare cause of hypertension in children. Urinary excretion sometimes remains low despite severe clinical intoxication.



A 32 month-old girl was admitted with hypertension, tachycardia, apathy, irritability and excessive sweating. Erythromelalgia and neurologic symptoms permitted the diagnosis of acrodynia. Urine mercury remained normal until chelation. Captopril significantly increased urine mercury concentration but failed to improve clinical manifestations. Clinical improvement required infusions of BAL for 5 days then oral dimercaptosuccinic acid for 3 months. Metal vapors originated from the mercury which spilled from a broken thermometer onto the carpet.



Low basal urine mercury could be associated with real mercury poisoning. Small amounts of metal mercury held in a thermometer could produce a high level of mercury vapor leading to intoxication in young children. The binding capacity of metal ions by captopril could be used to increase urine mercury output. Nevertheless, captopril therapy fails to improve acrodynia. Total elimination of mercury requires long-term therapy with BAL or dimercaptosuccinic acid.



An unexpected mode of intoxication and low basal urine mercury are not decisive arguments against mercury poisoning, which is the only cause of acrodynia.




    [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]