iron poisoning

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 (Fe) [i´ern]
a chemical element, atomic number 26, atomic weight 55.847. (See Appendix 6-1.) Iron is chiefly important to the human body because it is the main constituent of hemoglobin, cytochrome, and other components of respiratory enzyme systems. A constant although small intake of iron in food is needed to replace erythrocytes that are destroyed in the body processes. Most iron reaches the body in food, where it occurs naturally in the form of iron compounds. These are converted for use in the body by the action of the hydrochloric acid produced in the stomach. This acid separates the iron from the food and combines with it in a form that is readily assimilable by the body. Vitamin C enhances absorption of iron, and alkalis hamper absorption.
Iron Deficiencies. The amount of new iron needed every day by the adult body is about 18 mg. A child needs more in proportion to weight. Although these amounts are very small, iron deficiencies may cause serious disorders. Three stages of iron deficiency are distinguished: iron depletion or prelatent iron deficiency, in which bodily stores are mildly depleted but no change in hematocrit or serum iron levels is detectable; latent iron deficiency, in which the serum iron level has dropped but the hematocrit is unchanged and there is no anemia; and iron deficiency anemia, a serious condition characterized by low to absent iron stores, low hematocrit, and other blood abnormalities. A great loss of blood, such as may result from bleeding ulcers, hemorrhoids, or injury, is the most common cause of a deficiency of iron. Women who lose much blood in menstruation may have to supplement their diet with iron-rich food. Iron deficiency sometimes occurs in pregnancy as a result of increased demands on the mother's blood. It may also occur in infants, since milk contains little iron. Although babies are born with an extra supply of hemoglobin, by the age of 2 or 3 months they need iron-rich food to supplement milk.

Iron preparations, such as ferrous sulfate, may be necessary in the treatment of iron deficiency anemia; they should be administered after meals, never on an empty stomach. The patient should be warned that the drugs cause stools to turn dark green or black. Overdosage may cause severe systemic reactions.

An acute iron deficiency may warrant parenteral administration of an iron supplement. Hypersensitivity to iron supplements often occurs in patients with other known allergies. In other patients the parenteral administration of iron can cause vomiting, chills, fever, headache, joint pain, and urticaria.
Food Sources of Iron. Liver is the richest source of iron; 200 g (6 ounces) of liver contains a whole day's supply for an adult. Other iron-rich foods include lean meat, oysters, kidney beans, whole wheat bread, kale, spinach, egg yolk, turnip greens, beet greens, carrots, apricots, and raisins.
Iron metabolism. Uptake of heme iron or ferrous iron occurs in the intestine. From the intestine, iron is transported on transferrin to the liver or the bone marrow. Transferrin binds to red blood precursors in the bone marrow and delivers iron for incorporation into hemoglobin. Red blood cells in the circulation contain 60 percent to 80 percent of body iron. Old red blood cels are destroyed in the spleen. The iron is bound to transferrin for recirculation. Approximately 20 percent to 30 percent of iron is stored in the form of hemosiderin in the spleen, liver, and bone marrow. The remaining iron is in the respiratory enzymes of somatic cells. Iron is lost by desquamation of skin and intestinal cells. From Damjanov, 2000.
iron 59 a radioisotope of iron having a half-life of 44.5 days; used in ferrokinetics tests to determine the rate at which iron is cleared from the plasma and incorporated in red blood cells. Symbol 59Fe.
iron dextran a complex of iron and dextran of low molecular weight; administered intravenously or intramuscularly as a hematinic.
iron poisoning poisoning from ingestion of excessive iron or iron-containing compounds, such as in children who eat iron supplement tablets like candy; symptoms include ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract, vomiting, vasodilation with shock, metabolic acidosis, liver injury, and coagulation disturbances.
iron storage disease hemochromatosis.
iron sucrose a complex of ferric hydroxide, Fe(OH)3, in sucrose; used intravenously to treat iron deficiency anemia in hemodialysis patients receiving supplemental erythropoietin therapy.

iron poisoning

Etymology: AS, iren + L, potio, drink
toxic effects of ingesting iron salts, particularly ferrous sulfate and ferrous chloride. Ferrous sulfate tablets, sometimes mistaken for candy, can cause vomiting, collapse, and liver necrosis. Ferrous chloride, a corrosive substance, causes vomiting, diarrhea, and hemorrhage when taken internally. Iron encephalopathy has resulted from excessive use of iron preparations.

iron poi·son·ing

(ī'ŏrn poy'zŏn-ing)
Measurable toxicity related to the presence of nonphysiologic levels of iron in the body.

Iron poisoning

A potentially fatal condition caused by swallowing large amounts of iron dietary supplements. Most cases occur in children who have taken adult- strength iron formulas. The symptoms of iron poisoning include vomiting, bloody diarrhea, convulsions, low blood pressure, and turning blue.
Mentioned in: Iron Tests


a chemical element, atomic number 26, atomic weight 55.847, symbol Fe. See Table 6. Iron is chiefly important to the animal body because it is the main constituent of hemoglobin, cytochrome, and other components of respiratory enzyme systems. A constant although small intake of iron in food is needed to replace erythrocytes that are destroyed in the body processes.

a radioisotope of iron having a half-life of 45 days; used in ferrokinetics tests to determine the rate at which iron is cleared from the plasma and incorporated in red cells. Symbol 59Fe.
iron binding
absorbed iron is rapidly and tightly bound to a specific transport protein, transferrin or siderophilin, from which it is discharged at iron receptor sites in the bone marrow.
iron dextran
an injectable form of iron used in the prevention of iron deficiency. See iron poisoning (below).
iron galactan
used as an injection vehicle for iron in young piglets.
iron nutritional deficiency
is most common in piglets raised on sows kept indoors under artificial conditions. Clinical signs are pallor, dyspnea, edema of the head and a secondary diarrhea.
organic iron poisoning
see iron poisoning (below).
iron overload
storage of excessive iron in body tissues such as occurs in human idiopathic hemochromatosis is not recorded in animals, but overload may occur as a result of excessive therapy.
iron poisoning
overdosing piglets with iron compounds by mouth causes diarrhea and death. Organic iron preparations, usually dextrans, injected in piglets can cause deaths acutely, within an hour or two of injection. At postmortem examination there is myonecrosis of skeletal muscle. Deaths have also occurred within a few minutes of intramuscular injection of organic iron preparations in horses. Sudden death due to massive liver damage also recorded in newborn foals dosed orally with ferrous fumarate with or without yeast in a paste. Asymmetry of the hindquarters in pigs is also recorded as a sequel of intramuscular injections of iron. See also asymmetric hind quarter syndrome. Bore water often contains significant levels of iron and when used for fish culture in dams may cause mortalities.
iron pool
a source of readily available iron for metabolic emergencies, probably located in the bone marrow.
iron storage disease
iron-sulfur proteins
polypeptides that contain iron-sulfur centers capable of Fe2S2 or Fe4S4 stoichiometry and with standard reduction potential between NAD+ and ubiquinone. Critical components of many electron transport chains, e.g. in oxidative phosphorylation and photosynthesis.
total iron-binding capacity
the serum iron plus the unbound iron-binding capacity of the serum.
iron turnover
see iron turnover.
unbound iron-binding capacity
that portion of the plasma transferrin molecule that is not bound to Fe3+.
iron-yeast paste
highly hepatoxic in some newborn foals when fed as a dietary supplement.
References in periodicals archive ?
Vernon DD, Banner W, Dean JM: Hemodynamic effects of experimental iron poisoning.
Assessment of acute iron poisoning by laboratory and clinical observations.
This case of acute iron poisoning with associated liver injury is of interest for two reasons: (1) acute iron hepatotoxicity is rare in adults and (2) the measured peak serum level of iron was well below that reported to cause liver injury.
Iron poisoning ls characterized by four clinical stages (2).
Although FDA regulations put into effect in 1997 requiring all iron-containing drugs to contain a warning about the risks of iron poisoning in children, the public is still largely unaware of the danger.
The children admitted for iron poisoning were compared to matched children admitted for other reasons.
Can you get iron poisoning from taking these supplements?
Only child Sasha ate up to 80 of the small white tablets before collapsing with iron poisoning, the Cardiff inquest was told.