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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Pennies for Your Thoughts: A Case Series of Pancytopenia Due to Zinc-Induced Copper Deficiency in the Same Patient

  • Author(s): Dolcourt, Bram A.
  • Paxton, James H.
  • Bora, Keenan M.
  • Aaron, Cynthia K.
  • et al.

A 47-year-old schizophrenic male presented on three separate occasions with pancytopenia and sideroblastic anemia due to copper deficiency from massive zinc penny ingestion. The poisoning was treated differently on each visit: intravenous (IV) copper plus surgical decontamination and chelation with calcium disodium versenate (CaNa2EDTA); IV copper plus whole bowel irrigation; and IV copper with surgical decontamination only. Serum zinc half-lives were 80.0 hours, 233.2 hours, and 83.9 hours, respectively. Importantly, chelation with CaNa2EDTA did not significantly alter the elimination half-life. This is the first reported case of the same patient being treated on three different occasions with three different regimens for this condition.

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