Small bowel volvulus caused by massive ingestion of elemental mercury-A case report

S. G. Chen, J. C. Lee, P. W. Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A 60-year-old female was admitted of her massive ingestion of 2,100 gm of elemental mercury in a suicide attempt. The serial abdominal roentgenogram showed progressive dilatation of the small bowel. Extreme abdominal pain, out of proportion to the physical finding, developed during the period of observation. Small bowel obstruction complicated with volvulus was strongly suspected, and an exploratory laparotomy was performed. The exploration disclosed that the mercury was divided into three compact masses, two in the small bowel and one in the ascending colon. The small bowel volvulus, caused by the two compact masses of mercury in the small bowel, were successfully reduced manually. The intraluminal mercury was removed through an enterotomy. To present knowledge, this is the first reported case of a small bowel volvulus caused by massive ingestion of mercury. It is believed that initial management for massive ingestion of elemental mercury is conservative treatment, but surgical intervention is indicated when a severe gastrointestinal complication is suspected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-50
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Surgical Association Republic of China
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery

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