A 15 year old boy was evaluated in the psychiatric emergency room for the acute onset of “confusion,”insomnia, headache, and shaking of one week’s duration. Two days later hallucinations, formication and a movement disorder emerged characterized by action tremor, myoclonus, chorea and ataxia. Further history revealed inhalation of gasoline for its euphoric effects. Plasma lead levels were in the toxic range. Chelation therapy reversed the clinical symptoms. Behavioral changes and a movement disorder in the context of gasoline inhalation are highly suggestive of organic lead encephalopathy. Recognition of this syndrome is important as chelation therapy is effective.
- [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]