AIM: We describe the pulmonary computed tomography (CT) findings in acute m
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Initial (n = 8) and follow-up (n = 6) chest CT exami
nations in eight patients exposed to mercury vapour while cutting pipes in
a sulphuric acid plant were reviewed. Of the eight patients, two were asymp
tomatic and had normal CT results, two were asymptomatic but had abnormalit
ies on CT, and four had both acute symptoms and positive CT results. The pa
tients were all men whose ages ranged from 37 to 54 years (mean, 49 years).
RESULTS: Poorly defined nodules were present in five of six patients with p
ositive CT findings, present alone in two patients or as part of a mixed pa
ttern in three. They were random in distribution. Alveolar consolidation (n
= 3) and areas of ground-glass opacity (n = 4) were observed and were more
prominent in the most severely affected patients with the highest blood an
d urine level of mercury, predominantly in the upper and/or middle zone. Th
ese abnormal findings on CT resolved with (n = 1) or without (n = 5) steroi
d therapy. Pathological findings (n = 1) demonstrated acute interstitial ch
anges predominantly with oedema.
CONCLUSION: We report CT findings in eight patients acutely exposed to merc
ury vapour. The pulmonary injury,vas reversible on CT in these cases. Hashi
moto, M. et nl. (2001). Clinical Radiology 56, 17-21. (C) 2001 The Royal Co
llege of Radiologists.