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Background: Poisoning with Thevetia peruviana (yellow oleander) is commonly observed in Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka causing significant morbidity and mortality. It contains cardiac glycosides which are toxic to cardiac muscle that results in cardiovascular dysrhythmias.
Objective: To determine the pattern of cardiac dysrhythmias and outcome of yellow oleander poisoning at a tertiary care center of Northern Sri Lanka.
Methods: A descriptive, cross sectional, prospective study was carried among patients with yellow oleander poisoning admitted to Teaching hospital, Jaffna, Sri Lanka over a period of two years. Twelve lead standard electrocardiography and 2‑lead ECG monitoring were performed in all patients during the hospital stay at the cardiology unit. Data were entered in Microsoft Excel sheet and was analyzed using SPSS [version 21] analytical package. Results were presented as counts, percentages and mean ± SD for continuous variables.
Results: 23 out of 44 patients were females. Mean age of the patients was 24.84 [SD ± 0.43] years. Most of the patients were symptomatic and presented with gastro intestinal symptoms like vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Bradycardia was the most commonly observed cardiac rhythm abnormality within the first 24 hrs of ingestion of yellow oleander seeds. Sinus bradycardia [75%] was the commonest cause for bradycardia. All patients were treated with multiple doses of activated charcoal irrespective of the time of presentation. Patients with bradyarrhythmias were treated with intravenous boluses of atropine and 12 of them needed temporary pacing.
Conclusion: Most of the victims of Yellow oleander poisoning were young adults. The cardiac toxicity developed within 24 hours of ingestion of the seeds. The risk of toxicity has not related to the number of seeds consumed. Most patients have nonspecific symptoms. AV conduction abnormalities are common. Activated charcoal is useful in most cases.