Salud Pública de México
Print version ISSN 0036-3634
MARKOWITZ, Morri E. Managing childhood lead poisoning. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2003, vol.45, suppl.2, pp. 225-231. ISSN 0036-3634.
This paper reviews the clinical management of children with lead poisoning. A first step is to define the measures to be used in their assessment and be aware of the limitations. Measurements of blood lead levels can be made on anti-coagulated whole blood samples using either: atomic absorption spectroscopy or anodic stripping voltametry. However a more accurate method is fluorescent RX'ray of the skeleton or systematic biochemical tests of lead levels in urine. Remedies include elimination of lead in the environment, changes in children's behavior and dietary checks for adequate calcium and iron intake. Chelation therapy, using Ca edetate and succimer eliminates lead from the skeleton, which is then quickly excleted using a cathartic to help prevent re-absorption. Chelation may save lives where BLLs are very high. There is usually a short term reduction of BLLs with a subsequent rise. Serious cases may require repeat therapies. Chelation should be considered in children with BLLs >=45 µg/dl. Chelation therapy reduces BLLs and associated symptoms. However cognitive decline may be irreversible, indicating that emphasis should be on prevention rather than cure.
Keywords : lead poisoning [therapy]; child.