Background. Copper is an essential element. Poisoning with elemental copper is infrequent and manifestations rarely include the ones that our case presented. Case report. A previously healthy 2-year-old female patient unintentionally inhaled copper dust, developed respiratory failure a few hours later, and required mechanical ventilation. On hospital day three, the patient developed acute respiratory distress syndrome and was treated with high-frequency oscillatory ventilation for six days. She also developed hemolytic anemia, liver failure, oliguric renal failure, and evidence of acute tubular injury. During her stay in the intensive care unit she received inotropic support, packed red cells transfusion, and diuretics. A sample of bronchoalveolar lavage showed macrophages that stained positive for copper. Serum and urine copper concentrations were within the normal range after several days. Extubation was successfully achieved after two weeks and the patient was discharged on day 30 without sequelae. This is the first report of acute respiratory distress syndrome secondary to copper aspiration in a pediatric patient. Conclusion. To our knowledge, this is the first case reported of acute respiratory distress syndrome secondary to elemental copper aspiration. It is important to the clinician to be aware of acute respiratory distress syndrome as a differential diagnosis to copper aspiration by treating the patient aggressively in an adequate clinical setting.
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