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Cobalt toxicity
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Cobalt toxicity

Contributors: Andrea Wasilewski MD, Richard L. Barbano MD, PhD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Synopsis

Cobalt toxicity occurs due to exposure of large quantities of cobalt, a naturally occurring element found in the environment, via ingestion, inhalation, skin contact, or bloodstream contact resulting from metal wear of cobalt and chromium metal-on-metal hip implants. The only known biological function of cobalt is as a component of cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12).

Clinical presentation is variable. Continuous skin contact with cobalt may cause irritation or a rash (see allergic contact dermatitis). Acute ingestion of large amounts of cobalt is rare and not known to cause any severe manifestations; patients may commonly present with nausea and vomiting. Chronic absorption of large amounts of cobalt may lead to serious health complications. Potential clinical manifestations include fatigue, cardiomyopathy, cognitive dysfunction, hearing loss, hypothyroidism, neuropathy, polycythemia, tinnitus, and vision loss.

Individuals acutely exposed to large amounts of cobalt usually recover without any long-term complications. However, individuals who experience cobalt toxicity from long-term exposure may have irreversible health problems.

Codes

ICD10CM:
T56.891A – Toxic effect of other metals, accidental (unintentional), initial encounter

SNOMEDCT:
111777006 – Cobalt poisoning

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

Best Tests

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Therapy

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References

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Last Reviewed:09/29/2021
Last Updated:10/05/2021
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Cobalt toxicity
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A medical illustration showing key findings of Cobalt toxicity (Hip Replacement Related ) : Fatigue, Hearing loss, Vision loss, Peripheral neuropathy, RBC increased
Copyright © 2022 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.