Hymenoptera heartaches -cardiac manifestation with hymenoptera stings, a retrospective study from a tertiary care hospital in South India

Am J Emerg Med. 2021 Dec:50:294-300. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2021.08.003. Epub 2021 Aug 8.


Introduction: Hymenoptera stings usually have a multitude of presentations from very subtle to life-threatening conditions. Various cardiac manifestations including Kounis syndrome often get missed due to lack of suspicion. The aim of the study was to describe the clinical profile of the cardiac etiologies associated with hymenoptera stings and review literature with focus on diagnosis and treatment strategies.

Methodology: A retrospective chart analysis was performed including all adult patients who had a hymenoptera sting during a two-year window (October 2018 - October 2020). Of these, patients with cardiac features were enrolled. A structured case record form was used to capture information like basic demography, clinical profile, and outcomes.

Results: Thirteen cases presented with hymenoptera stings of which six cases had cardiac presentation and were considered. The most common presentations were breathlessness and generalised itching with only one patient complaining of chest pain. All patients(with available data) had ECG changes suggestive of ischemia and associated raised troponin levels with 2D echo changes. The diagnoses considered included Kounis syndrome, hypersensitivity myocarditis, and Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Patients were managed conservatively with one patient undergoing a coronary angiography. All patients were stable at discharge.

Conclusion: Cardiac manifestations with hymenoptera stings although rare may complicate diagnosis and treatment.It should be borne in mind during assessment and standardised guidelines should be developed for ED treatment such as the one recommended in this study.

Keywords: Acute Coronary Syndrome emergency medicine.; Acute coronary syndrome; Emergency medicine; Hymenoptera; Kounis syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hymenoptera*
  • India / epidemiology
  • Insect Bites and Stings / complications*
  • Insect Bites and Stings / epidemiology
  • Insect Bites and Stings / therapy
  • Male
  • Myocardial Ischemia / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Ischemia / etiology*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tertiary Care Centers