Stranger in the garden: Ricinus communis, 17 cases of intoxication
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CitationBogan, M., Gumusboga, H., Oktay, M. M., Sabak, M., & Eren, S. H. (January 01, 2019). Stranger in the garden: Ricinus communis, 17 cases of intoxication. Hong Kong Journal of Emergency Medicine.
Introduction: Ricinus communis is used as a decoration in landscape gardening in Turkey. In industrialized countries, however, it is used in many sectors, including the chemical, pharmaceutical, and fertilizer sectors; it is also used in cosmetics and biodiesel fuel production. In this presentation, 17 patients who ingested R. communis seeds are examined. Cases: Seventeen patients who ate the seeds of an unknown plant that grows in their gardens came to the emergency department with nausea, vomiting, and stomach ache complaints 4 h after ingesting the seeds. All patients were admitted to the critical care unit, monitored, and started on supportive treatment. After the treatment, patients’ vital signs and laboratory parameters were stable. Seven patients were discharged the next day upon the regression of symptoms. The remaining 10 patients were successfully discharged 2 days after the treatment. There are cases in medical literature where consumption of one-half of a R. communis seed resulted in death. In our presentation, each patient consumed one to four (2.18 on average) R. communis seeds, and the symptoms were over within 2 days. The clinical course ended without any cases of death, and all patients were discharged in good condition. Conclusion: Emergency physicians have to know the clinical course and medical methods regarding intoxication due to oral consumption of toxic plants. Severe toxicity and even mortality can be observed with the ingestion of the seeds of the plant. Similar symptoms (nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain) were observed in all our cases, but no mortality was observed.