Newsletter

Diagnosing toxic exposures

Life can get toxic in the most unexpected ways. You can’t remember exactly when you started feeling sick, but a few years ago you had a metal-on-metal hip placement and you wonder if metal poisoning (metallosis) might be the cause of your recent symptoms.  

Metallosis is a medical condition that can occur when metal components of joint replacement devices, such as hip replacements, rub together and release cobalt, chromium or titanium into the bloodstream.

Evan Schwarz, MD, co-director of the Washington University medical toxicology clinic says, “ While metal poisoning from a metal-on-metal hip replacement is rare, it may be the reason for your symptoms.  Corrosion from these microscopic metal particles in your bloodstream could trigger a hypersensitive immune response in your body.

However, there can be other reasons for your unexplained symptoms. Perhaps you are using different chemicals at work or you have just started a new job that exposes you to potentially toxic substances.  If you have concerns, the board-certified team of physicians at our Washington University medical toxicology clinic is able to provide evaluation and treatment to individuals suffering from metal, chemical or toxic exposures, as well as envenomations (snake bites) and adverse drug reactions.”

The clinic is able to provide the patient:

  • Streamlined evaluation and treatment for chemical or household exposures (excluding mold)
  • Education about long-term consequences and prognosis after chemical exposures
  • Assessment of concerns involving occupations exposures
  • Elimination of the source of symptoms (chemical or metals exposure) if indicated
  • Follow-up care after envenomation (snake bite)
  • Ordering testing or interpretation of results in patients with metal-on-metal hip implants

For more information, or to make an appointment at the Washington University medical toxicology clinic, please call 314-362-4362.

Barnes-Jewish Center for Outpatient Health
4901 Forest Park Ave., Suite 241
St. Louis, MO 63108