Cardiac dysfunction and pulmonary edema following scorpion envenomation

Chest. 1991 Oct;100(4):1057-9. doi: 10.1378/chest.100.4.1057.


Cardiac dysfunction with pulmonary edema following scorpion envenomation (SE) has been documented only in a few isolated case reports. We conducted a systematic hemodynamic study in five consecutive patients (mean age, 21.6 +/- 8 years) presenting with pulmonary edema occurring a few hours (9.6 +/- 5.2 hours) after SE. All patients had increased pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (mean, 25 +/- 1.8 mm Hg) while the systemic vascular resistance was elevated only in one. The stroke volume index was markedly depressed (21.7 +/- 3.6 ml/sq m) whereas cardiac index was normal or slightly decreased (2.5 +/- 0.4 L/min/sq m). Cerebral infarct and sudden cardiac arrest were the cause of death in two patients. In the three survivors, all the hemodynamic disturbances and respiratory abnormalities disappeared within a few days. We conclude that cardiac dysfunction was found in all five patients and this was reversible in the three surviving the acute episode.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / etiology*
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Edema / etiology*
  • Scorpion Stings / complications*
  • Scorpion Venoms / adverse effects*
  • Scorpions
  • Ventricular Function, Left / physiology


  • Scorpion Venoms