Iron Overdose during Pregnancy: Case and Treatment Review


A 22-year-old pregnant female was transferred to the emergency department having ingested a bottle of iron-containing prenatal vitamins, ondansetron (Zofran?) tablets and alcohol. The patient was hemodynamically stable but suffered from intense bouts of brown, sandy emesis for the first few hours. Investigation revealed the patient ingested 13.57 mg/kg of elemental iron. Due to the initial iron level, history and presentation time whole bowel irrigation was initiated with polyethylene glycol solution. Acute iron toxicity in pregnancy is a medical emergency that can result in multisystem organ failure leading to maternal death and potential fetal demise. High maternal serum iron loads do not affect the developing fetus and are not associated with fetal malformations; however advanced poisoning can lead to maternal death, spontaneous abortions or preterm emergency deliveries. Initial treatment strategies may include whole bowel irrigation using polyethylene glycol electrolyte lavage solution and deferoxamine treatment along with necessary supportive care management. Despite concerns of teratogenicity deferoxamine does not cross the placenta and is regarded as safe for use during pregnancy. Maternal resuscitation must always be the primary objective in acute iron overdoses and, therefore such concern should not delay clinically indicated maternal treatment.

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Geraci, M. and Heagney, H. (2012) Iron Overdose during Pregnancy: Case and Treatment Review. International Journal of Clinical Medicine, 3, 715-721. doi: 10.4236/ijcm.2012.37A126.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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