Test Your Knowledge: Lead Poisoning in Children

 Millions of children continue to be at risk for lead exposure despite a dramatic decline over the past 4 decades, and hundreds present annually to emergency departments with lead poisoning. These patients can be challenging to identify due to their nonspecific presentation and frequent lack of known exposure.

Our recent issue Lead Poisoning in Children: Emergency Department Recognition and Management will prepare the emergency clinician to identify and care for the lead-poisoned patient, focusing on: (1) identifying key historical features, signs, and symptoms at presentation; (2) the medical management of lead poisoning; and (3) formulation of a safe discharge plan. 

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The correct answer: B.

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Here are a few key points:

  • Identifying a child with severe lead poisoning can be challenging, as it is an uncommon entity with a nonspecific presentation and there is often lack of a known lead exposure.
  • Patients may be asymptomatic or present with nonspecific gastrointestinal symptoms, unexplained neurologic findings, signs of anemia, and/or hypertension. Maintain a high index of suspicion for lead poisoning in patients presenting with these symptoms and no known cause.
  • If there is suspicion for lead poisoning, obtain a comprehensive history to identify possible risk factors for lead exposure. (See Table 1 in the issue.)

Read the full issue and earn 4 CME credits!

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