Blood lead concentration after a shotgun accident.

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In an accidental shooting, a man in his late forties was hit in his left shoulder region by about 60 lead pellets from a shotgun. He had injuries to the vessels, the clavicle, muscles, and nerves, with total paralysis of the left arm due to axonal injury. After several surgical revisions and temporary cover with split skin, reconstructive surgery was carried out 54 days after the accident. The brachial plexus was swollen, but the continuity of the nerve trunks was not broken (no neuroma present). We determined the blood lead (BPb) concentration during a follow-up period of 12 months. The BPb concentration increased considerably during the first months. Although 30 lead pellets were removed during the reconstructive surgery, the BPb concentration continued to rise, and reached a peak of 62 microg/dL (3.0 micromol/L) on day 81. Thereafter it started to decline. Twelve months after the accident, BPb had leveled off at about 30 microg/dL. At that time, muscle and sensory functions had partially recovered. The BPb concentration exceeded 30 microg/dL for 9 months, which may have influenced the recovery rate of nerve function. Subjects with a large number of lead pellets or fragments embedded in the body after shooting accidents should be followed for many years by regular determinations of BPb. To obtain a more stable basis for risk assessment, the BPb concentrations should be corrected for variations in the subject's hemoglobin concentration or erythrocyte volume fraction.


  • Lars Gerhardsson
  • Lars Dahlin
  • Richard Knebel
  • Andrejs Schütz
Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Miljömedicin och yrkesmedicin


Sidor (från-till)115-117
TidskriftEnvironmental Health Perspectives
StatusPublished - 2002
Peer review utfördJa