ISSN ONLINE: 2558-815X
ISSN PRINT: 1584-9244
ISSN-L: 1584-9244

Nephrotoxic injury in fatal poisonings in children – etiology and pathological aspects



Introduction. The actual prevalence of toxic nephropathies in children is not fully known, because renal functional and structural changes caused by nephrotoxins are nonspecific.

The objective of the study was to evaluate the aetiology and renal involvement in severe poisoning with lethal potential in children.

Methods. We retrospectively analyzed a group of patients, aged between 0-18 years, with deaths due to acute intoxication, who were investigated at the National Institute of Legal Medicine “Dr. Mina Minovici” Bucharest, Romania, during a 9 years period. We analyzed the aetiology of deaths by poisoning in children, the aetiology and  the frequency of nephrotoxic injury and the pathological aspects of nephrotoxic poisonings.

Results. From a total of 69 children deaths due to acute intoxication, the most common cause of death was acute poisoning with carbon monoxide (23 cases). The other etiologies were represented by multidrug poisoning – 9 cases, organophosphorus intoxications – 9 cases, and intoxications with illicit drugs – 8 cases. Acute renal injury was present in 20 patients, mainly in acute multidrug poisoning. The most common aspect was tubular nephrosis in 15 cases, followed by the appearance of acute tubular necrosis in 10 cases, tubulo-interstitial nephritis in 1 case, and non-specific aspects with renal stasis in the remaining 6 cases.

Conclusions. Kidney involvement in pediatric poisoning is rare, but when acute kidney injury occurs, the prognosis of the intoxication becomes severe. Renal injury was present in 30% of cases, either by direct kidney damage with acute tubular necrosis, or by association of haemodynamic, cardiogenic, or septic shock.

Keywords: fatal poisoning, carbon monoxide, nephrotoxic, children poisoning.

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Address for correspondence:
Alexandru I. ULMEANU
„Grigore Alexandrescu” Children Emergency Hospital, Bucharest, Romania
Address: Iancu de Hunedoara Blvd, 30‑32, Bucharest, Romania
Email:; Phone 0040722993081


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Ulmeanu AI, Boghitoiu D, Ulmeanu AA, Ulmeanu C. Nephrotoxic injury in fatal poisonings in children - etiology and pathological aspects. Arch Balk Med Union 2019;54(1):45-50.