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Bite the bullet: lead poisoning after ingestion of 206 lead bullets.

A 45-y-o male with a history of schizophrenia was admitted to a local VA psychiatric unit. Five days later, endoscopy due to abdominal pain, gastrointestinal bleeding and blood hemoglobin of 5.6 g/dL revealed bullets in the stomach. On subsequent radiograph, > 50 bullets were visualized in the stomach and intestines. Poison Center recommendations included whole bowel irrigation and a blood lead level. After poor results with gastrointestinal decontamination and a repeat radiograph showing > 100 cartridges, surgical intervention was considered but not performed due to perceived risk of bullet detonation from electrocautery. The blood lead was reported as 391 mcg/dL. Calcium EDTA therapy was initiated, followed by aggressive gastrointestinal decontamination. Four days of whole bowel irrigation facilitated passage of 206 cartridges over the next 10 days. The patient was discharged on a 14-day course of 600 mg Succimer tid to treat the bone lead deposits and blood lead level of 49 mcg/dl. An outpatient visit 6 w later showed the blood lead level had dropped to 24 mcg/dl. Aggressive gastrointestinal decontamination and calcium EDTA and Succimer administration successfully treated an ingestion lead bullets and the resulting lead poisoning.

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