Sodium phosphate enemas and laxatives are widely used for the treatment of constipation, even if a number of cases of significant toxicity due to alterations of the fluid and electrolyte equilibria (hypernatremia, hyperphosphatemia, and hypocalcemia) have been reported. We present the case of an 83-year-old man who died of fecal and chemical peritonitis secondary to an iatrogenic colon perforation (produced performing a Fleet enema through the patient's iliac colostomy) with peritoneal absorption of sodium phosphate. Environmental scanning electron microscopy coupled with an X-ray fluorescence energy dispersive spectrometry discovered multiple bright crystals formed of calcium, phosphorus, and oxygen in the brain, heart, lung, and kidney sections of the victim. The absence of these kinds of precipitates in two control samples chronically treated with Fleet enemas led us to assume that the deceased had adsorbed a great quantity of phosphorus ions from the peritoneal cavity with subsequent systemic dissemination and precipitation of calcium phosphate bindings.

Forensic application of ESEM and XRF-EDS techniques to a fatal case of sodium phosphate enema intoxication

VIEL, GUIDO;FERRARA, SANTO;MONTISCI, MASSIMO;CECCHETTO, GIOVANNI
2009

Abstract

Sodium phosphate enemas and laxatives are widely used for the treatment of constipation, even if a number of cases of significant toxicity due to alterations of the fluid and electrolyte equilibria (hypernatremia, hyperphosphatemia, and hypocalcemia) have been reported. We present the case of an 83-year-old man who died of fecal and chemical peritonitis secondary to an iatrogenic colon perforation (produced performing a Fleet enema through the patient's iliac colostomy) with peritoneal absorption of sodium phosphate. Environmental scanning electron microscopy coupled with an X-ray fluorescence energy dispersive spectrometry discovered multiple bright crystals formed of calcium, phosphorus, and oxygen in the brain, heart, lung, and kidney sections of the victim. The absence of these kinds of precipitates in two control samples chronically treated with Fleet enemas led us to assume that the deceased had adsorbed a great quantity of phosphorus ions from the peritoneal cavity with subsequent systemic dissemination and precipitation of calcium phosphate bindings.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/2430159
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