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Epidemiology and Clinical Profile of Gloriosa Superba Poisoning in Sri Lanka

R.M.M.K.Namal Rathnayaka, P.E.A.Nishanthi Ranathunga, Ravindra Fernando


Introduction: Gloriosa superba is a common plant poisoning in Sri Lanka which has fatal outcomes. Except few case reports, there are no systematic studies regarding its poisoning in the country. The objective of this study was to describe epidemiological and clinical manifestations following Gloriosa superba poisoning and its long term effects.

Methods: A descriptive observational study involving a series of 33 patients with Gloriosa superba poisoning was conducted for one year duration commencing from July 2015.

Results: Twenty-nine (87.87%) cases were deliberate self-poisonings and 4 (12.12%) were accidental poisonings. Females were 21 (63.63%) and males were 12 (36.36%). Their age ranged from 13 years to 72. Thirty (90.9%) ingested Gloriosa tubers. Five patients (15.15%) died due to Gloriosa poisoning. Thirty one patients (93.93%) developed acute gastrointestinal symptoms; 7 (21.21%) had cardiotoxic effects; 3 (9%) developed respiratory failure; 5 (15.15%) had neurological and bleeding manifestations; 2 (6%) had acute kidney injury. Hypokalaemia was observed in 16 (48.48%), leucopenia in 5 (15.15%) and anaemia in 4 (12.12%) patients. Alopecia was observed in 4 (12.12%) patients as the long term effect.

Conclusion: There is a multi-organ system involvement in Gloriosa superba poisoning such as gastrointestinal tract, heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, liver and haemopoietic system.

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