Barium salts are an infrequent cause of poisoning. Because the acid-soluble barium salts (acetate, carbonate, chloride, hydroxide, nitrate, and sulfide) are highly toxic, fatalities have occurred. Although heavy metals have been a well-known cause of acute renal failure, barium salts have not been implicated previously. This case report describes the occurrence of acute renal failure after ingestion of barium chloride.
A 52-year-old male research chemist was admitted to the Wilmington Medical Center with the chief complaint of diarrhea and weakness. He had been "spree drinking" laboratory ethanol for the past week when, despondent, he ingested 1 teaspoonful of barium chloride