Thallium poisoning: symptoms, treatment

Thallium is a chemical element belonging to the group of metals. In a small number of it is always in the human body. However, contact with this substance may lead to severe poisoning and intoxication. This article describes the main reasons to develop the thallium poisoning, its symptoms, possible complications, as well as components of first aid and treatment of this dangerous condition.

What is a thallium where you want them to get poisoned

Few people know what is thallium. Compared to many other metals it is used not so often and not in many spheres of human activity. For humans it is a potent poison, and contact with them often ends in death.

Scientists have identified thallium in the human body. Most of it in adipose tissue. But its purpose and function is still not investigated. It is known that this metal is present in minimum quantities in almost all plants. It is believed that in the human body he gets along with plant food, in such concentrations does not harm and does not cause intoxication.

Poisoned with thallium in the situations listed below:

  • In the factories, which used thallium. This can be a manufacturer of fluorescent paints, thermometers, lights, pyrotechnics.
  • When processing areas of poison against rodents (rats, mice). Thallium is part of most of these poisons.
  • When working with insecticides and pesticides. More than half of acute thallium poisoning is common among workers in the agricultural industry.
  • Poisoning in children develops as a result of ingestion callistenia pesticides, insecticides or poisons from rodents. All of these substances must be hidden from the child because he because of their age, not knowing about the danger of the unknown powder or solution, may want to try it out. Even small amounts of this poison can be enough to be fatal.

Please note that when working with substances of thallium are required to wear a protective suit and a respirator. This substance can enter the body through the respiratory tract.

Thallium poisoning may be accidental, but intentional. People who choose to commit suicide, and occasionally use this chemical. There are also situations of the crime of murder with the use of this poison.

How does thallium on the body

To get into the human body thallium may through the digestive system and respiratory system. Is also dangerous skin contact with this chemical. In case of ingestion of thallium poisoning develop severe. 1 gram of this substance causes intoxication, and a greater amount is fatal to humans.

By ingestion of thallium in the stomach it causes local inflammation, for the past one hour is carried by the blood to all organs and systems.

Thallium is excreted from the body by kidney, so these organs suffer the most. The chemical deposited on the walls of their internal structures and causes a disturbance of their functions.

Please note that thallium is very slowly excreted from the body. For one month only displays half of the swallowed chemical.

Also, the thallium is deposited in other organs of the human body: heart, liver, nerve cells in the brain, blood vessels and neural pathways. In severe intoxications it can cause brain swelling, which often die the affected people.

Clinical manifestations of acute poisoning

The severity of poisoning correlates with the amount of the adopted person of the chemical, weight and age of the patient. For the development of children intoxication requires a much smaller amount of poison than adults.

The first symptoms during the first 2-3 hours. The clinical picture develops rapidly and is accompanied by rapid deterioration of health of the victim.

The first symptoms of thallium poisoning include:

  • severe pain in the abdomen, spreading across its surface. Affected and stomach, and all the intestine;
  • nausea and vomiting. Vomit can contain residues of food eaten, the bile, the gastric juice;
  • bloody diarrhea develops due to lesions of the bowel and the beginning of intestinal bleeding;
  • tachycardia – rapid heartbeat that can go into heart rhythm disorder;
  • shortness of breath;
  • the fall in blood pressure develops as a result of internal intestinal bleeding.

Over the next week joined by symptoms of Central nervous system:

  • seizures (as in epilepsy);
  • severe headache may be migraine type, localized in one part of the head;
  • a common severe weakness, lethargy;
  • myalgia is muscle pain, often covers the lower limbs;
  • the staggering while walking and poor coordination. This symptom indicates a lesion of the cerebellum thallium;
  • polyneuritis – inflammation of the nerves. Can manifest different pains in the body;
  • blurred vision and complete blindness are caused by lesions of the visual center in the brain;
  • impairment of consciousness and the confluence of the patient in a deep comastate.

Please note that in case of acute and severe poisoning, patients often do not survive to the end of the first day. They die due to intestinal bleeding or brain edema.

First aid in acute poisoning with thallium

When suspicion is not an acute intoxication with thallium should immediately call an ambulance. Treatment of this condition should be carried out in a hospital. Themselves to help the sick and to cure it you will not be able.

Before arrival of physicians should immediately begin to give the patient first aid. With its help, you can slightly reduce the severity of the process and removing the last traces of thallium from the digestive cavity. You will be able to perform the following procedures.

The cleansing of the stomach

This procedure is desirable in the first minutes after swallowing the poison. In order to withdraw from the digestive cavity residues of thallium, had not managed to get into the blood stream, should in one gulp to drink about a liter of plain water and induce vomiting. Retching is triggered by pressing a finger on the root of the tongue.

Lavage should be repeated several times. Thus, from the stomach out the maximum quantity of the chemical.

Gastric lavage should not be done on the background of impaired consciousness intoxicated person. Also, this procedure is contraindicated in the appearance of black or dark vomit. This symptom indicate started developing gastrointestinal bleeding, and flushing will only increase the damage to the vascular wall and blood loss.


Look at yourself in the medicine Cabinet drugs from the group of sorbents. It can be activated carbon, smectite, sorbex, enterosgel, Polisorb, APSCO, etc.

The dosage of each drug is different. For example, when administration of activated charcoal is taken 1-2 tablets per 10 kg of patient weight. That is, a person who weighs 60 kg can be given 6-12 tablets.


You can give the victim to drink plain water or mineral water. The liquid will help to relieve dehydration. The water temperature should be room. You should not drink fizzy or hot drinks.

First aid

First aid is the physicians who have arrived on a call. You'll need to tell them details about what happened: how, when and what poisoned the patient, whether he has any chronic disease, allergies to medicines, whether he is taking any medications constantly.

Then the doctors will conduct a rapid assessment of the patient. For this they will check the pulse and respiration, blood pressure and saturation, if necessary, remove the ECG. First aid consists of:

  • the introduction of drugs, eliminating the disruption of the heart and breathing;
  • droppers with solutions for removal of intoxication syndrome;
  • hemostatic drugs (in severe intestinal bleeding);
  • antiemetics. They are shown in case of irrepressible vomiting;
  • gastric lavage through the probe. This procedure is performed in patients with impaired consciousness or small children who have to spend it "popular" way is not possible.

After stabilization of vital signs the patient is urgently transported to the nearest hospital that is on duty. Hospitalization is carried out in the intensive care unit or toxicology.

Treatment and examination

To detect thallium in the body is not so simple. Most commonly used x-ray examination of the abdominal cavity. Thallium does not pass through him rays of x-ray radiation, it can be seen in the pictures. It will concentrate in the walls of the intestine or in the kidneys.

Inpatient treatment begins with the first minutes of admission. It includes the following components:

  1. The introduction of the antidote for thallium – ditiocarb. This substance helps neutralize and bring out the toxin from the body, but not instant improvement in his condition and recovery.
  2. Hemodialysis is carried out with the first days of the disease. This procedure helps to remove toxins from the body and prevent the development of acute renal failure.
  3. Laxatives are used in the absence of intestinal bleeding. Most often used mannitol.
  4. Medications to maintain heart function and normalize blood pressure.
  5. Generous dropper aimed at raising pressure and reduced toxicity. May be accompanied by the introduction of diuretics. All solutions are introduced under the control of electrolyte composition of blood.

The effect of thallium poisoning

Acute thallium poisoning often goes unnoticed. Even if timely first aid and treatment is performed correctly, its effects can stay with you for life, cause disability and disability.

The most common consequences of acute poisoning include the following:

  • Alopecia – complete or partial hair loss, baldness. It is characteristic for women and men. This complication could be permanent.
  • Atrophy of the retina. Such a process often leads to complete loss of vision.
  • Impotence in men.
  • The menstrual dysfunction and infertility in women.
  • Kidney disease with the subsequent developmentrenal failure. The patient may need to stay on regular hemodialysis.
  • Skin rashes, dermatitis, local skin atrophy.
  • Congestive heart failure caused by damage to the myocardial thallium.
  • Impaired memory, tendency to depressive States. Perhaps the development of epilepsy.

Thallium poisoning is a rare disorder. Most often it develops in people working in the agricultural industry, or in children who ate callistenia chemicals. At the first slightest signs of intoxication should call an ambulance. The treatment is carried out in hospital and involves dialysis. The recovery period and long recovery, doctors have to deal with multiple complications provoked by thallium. Even at in time begun treatment the patient can be serious consequences in the body, leading to disability.