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Disintegration of mercury disc cells in simulated gastric juice: implications for management of disc cell ingestion.
  1. J L Taylor,
  2. M S Hockey,
  3. A Rhodes,
  4. M E Smith,
  5. S Hughes,
  6. R A Braithwaite
  1. Department of Surgery, Walsgrave Hospital, Coventry.

    Abstract

    The disintegration of charged alkaline mercury button cells in simulated gastric fluid over a 24 h period has been studied. The integrity of the cells and the amount of mercury that can leak out of them were assessed. The cells raised the pH of the incubating solutions. Disruption was seen in five out of 18 cells tested in 0.1 mol/L hydrochloric acid and one out of nine in 0.9% saline. Five of the six disrupted cells were made by the same manufacturer. Major leakage of mercury only occurred after complete disintegration of the cells. The implications of these findings for the management of patients who have ingested mercury-containing button cells are discussed.

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