Current approaches to the treatment of severe lithium intoxication

R. Bellomo, N. Boyce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Severe lithium intoxication, whether accidental or deliberate, is associated with significant morbidity and mortality and therefore qualifies as a medical emergency. Treatment has generally been aimed at enhancing the excretion of lithium from the body. Forced diuresis, although modestly enhancing lithium excretion, is of limited efficacy. Excellent lithium clearances are obtained with haemodialysis. However, significant problems with this technique exist, including its restricted availability and a rebound rise in lithium levels after its cessation, in addition to hypotension, electrolyte imbalances, and other haemodialysis technique specific complications. New continuous dialytic techniques, such as acute continuous haemodiafiltration, presently used in critically ill patients with established acute renal failure, also offer highly effective extraction of lithium whilst avoiding many of the difficulties encountered with conventional haemodialysis techniques. Such advances in dialytic therapies for the critically ill offer a significant advance in the treatment of severe lithium intoxication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-248
Number of pages4
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1992
Externally publishedYes

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