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Minerva Medicolegale 2010 June;130(2):123-7

language: Italian

A rare case of accidental inhalation of silver nitrate during nasal with fatal outcome

Messina R., Betta P. G.

Dipartimento di Medicina Legale, ASL-AL, Alessandria, Italia, Struttura complessa di Anatomia Patologica Azienda Sanitaria Ospedaliera, Alessandria, Italia


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This report describes a case of accidental inhalation of a fragment of a silver nitrate pencil during nasal cauterization for epistaxis and resulting in fatal outcome. It was initially unclear to the health care operators where the fragment had gone; only later was it found to be located in the bronchopulmonary tract. The ensuing clinical course and the medico-legal autopsy findings are described. The case holds an important lesson for its rarity and for the particular histologic coloration in the bronchopulmonary parenchyma sections, where the colors closely resembled those of classic silver impregnation (occurring in vivo in this case).

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