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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 22-25

A rare presentation of ileal perforation due to local iron toxicity

Department of General Surgery, Apollo BGS Hospitals, Mysore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dilip Rajasekharan
Apollo BGS Hospitals, Mysore - 570 023, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJCS.IJCS_7_18

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Ileal perforation peritonitis is a frequently encountered surgical emergency in developing countries. In contrast to Western countries where lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract perforations predominate, upper GI tract perforations attribute to the majority of cases in India. Spontaneous ileal perforation remains a dreaded surgical condition in developing countries. Typhoid fever is the predominant cause of nontraumatic ileal perforation, while other causes include tuberculosis, nonspecific inflammation, obstruction, radiation enteritis, and Crohn's disease. Iron tablets, in case of toxicities, are notorious for causing erosions of the gastric mucosa due to their corrosive effect leading to perforations. The incidence of these, however, is few and far between. However, iron tablets causing erosions as a cause of ileal perforation is virtually unheard of. Literature suggests the possible perforations due to iron toxicity to be in the upper GI tract, namely stomach and duodenum, reflecting the sites of absorption. In this case report, we present a patient with an ileal perforation following acute ingestion of iron tablets. We suspect that this is probably either due to the sheer number of tablets, leading to a reduced absorption, or the fact that it may be enteric coated, which may explain the passage through the upper GI tract undigested. There are no studies to the authors' knowledge that explain such a finding. Thus, there is no consensus on the total amount of iron needed or the minimum time exposed to the toxic agent to produce such a finding.

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