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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 27-28

Acute respiratory distress in a silversmith

Department of General Medicine, St. Martha's Hospital, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Jignesh Mukeshkumar Parikh
Doctor's quarters, St. Martha's Hospital, 5 Nruputhunga Road, Bangalore 560 001, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5278.134955

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A 25-year-old young male patient presented in casualty department with severe respiratory distress on the fourth day from onset of symptoms. The patient was nonsmoker and had no antecedent medical or drug history. Prior to admission, patient had dry cough and bilateral pleuritic chest pain for the last three days. He was in severe respiratory distress with use of accessory muscles of respiration. On examination, he had heart rate of 120 beats/min, blood pressure (BP) of 150/80, respiratory rate of 48-52/min and central cyanosis present. On systemic examination, reduced intensity of breath sounds with extensive rhonchi and crepitation was found in both lung fields, with other examination being within normal limits. On pulse oximetry, oxygen saturation was 28% on room air, which increased up to 36% with the help of 4 L oxygen via nasal prongs. PaO 2 /FiO 2 ratio was 100. Chest X-ray analysis was suggestive of non-cardiac pulmonary edema in view of bilateral fluffy opacity without cardiomegaly. In view of 2/3 positive criteria, his provisional diagnosis was Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). He required mechanical ventilatory support and was gradually weaned over a period of 10 days. The patient was treated with broad spectrum antibiotics and other supportive measures. On re-evaluation of history, we found that he was a goldsmith by occupation, smelting silver and gold for the past 8-10 years. On the day of onset of symptoms, while smelting silver he was exposed to golden yellow fumes for around 15 minutes, with the quantum of exposure more than any other day earlier. From previous experience and analysis of similar silver metals, he was able to tell us that the silver was adulterated with large amount of cadmium on that day than before. Serum level of cadmium was 2.9 μg/L 6 days after initial exposure. At the time of discharge, he had residual opacities in the chest radiograph and resting oxygen saturation was 94% on room air.


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