WWWTP #13 Answer

January 8, 2014


A few days ago I posted arm xrays of a patient who injected himself with an unknown substance: 


The images show a radioopaque substance that appears to be tracking up the arm.  It is consistent with a liquid metallic substance. 

This person injected themselves with mercury.

Liquid metallic mercury is a toxic substance that can cause localized sterile abscesses when injected.  It rarely causes systemic toxicity but it is recommended to washout the injected site to avoid further systemic absorption.  Significant mercury toxicity is usually seen with inhalation of mercury vapor resulting in brain, kidney, and lung damage.  Some case reports of mercury injection are available in the literature, please see this article published in 2004:


Image Contributor:  Ian Julie, MD

Author:  Russell Jones, MD


1.  Prasad VL.  Subcutaneous Injection of Mercury:  “Warding Off Evil.”  Environ Health Perspec.  Sept 2004; 112(13): 1326-28.

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EMREMS: Radiology in Emergency Medicine

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One Comment on “WWWTP #13 Answer”

  1. docskalski Says:

    Reminds me of this case someone posted on Facebook a few months ago: http://mskalski.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/mercury-bronchogram.jpg

    Attempted suicide via liquid mercury inhalation


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