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1

A young child is admitted for treatment of lead poisoning. The nurse should recognize that the most serious effect of chronic lead poisoning is which of these?

Renal tubule damage

Growth impairment

Moderate anemia

Central nervous system damage

Central nervous system damage

The most serious consequences of chronic lead poisoning occur in the central nervous system (CNS). Neural cells are destroyed by the toxic effects of the lead. The outcomes are many problems with intellect that range from mild deficits to mental retardation, seizures and even death. Other effects of long-term lead poisoning include decreased bone and muscle growth; poor muscle coordination; and damage to the kidneys; however, the CNS effects are the most serious.