Article Text

Download PDFPDF
A young man with a heavy heart
  1. P Davey,
  2. M Benson
  1. Nuffield Department of Medicine & Chest Medicine Unit, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK
  1. Dr Davey email:patrick.davey{at}


A 34 year old man presented with acute chest pain. His ECG was very abnormal but stable and he was treated with opiate analgesia. When his condition did not improve, chest radiography and cardiac ultrasound were performed. Both revealed metal dense deposits in the heart. On questioning, the patient revealed that he had self injected with mercury 15 years before. Self injection of elemental mercury is rare but well described and normally used by those who are suicidally depressed or who seek to improve sexual or athletic performance. Intravenous mercury may be deposited in the right heart and can result in ECG abnormalities, which may later be mistaken for changes due to coronary or other cardiac disease and result in inappropriate medication and hospitalisation.

  • mercury poisoning
  • non-cardiac chest pain
  • analgesia

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.