, Volume 119, Issue 4, pp 236-240
Date: 20 May 2005

A non-fatal oleander poisoning

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The study presents a case of non-fatal poisoning with oleander blooms in a 47-year-old female, with emphasis on the importance of toxicological service in a clinical emergency. After repeated vomiting at home, the patient was admitted at the hospital with cardiac symptoms more than 18 h after the ingestion. Serum samples were assayed immunochemically for digitoxin-related compounds by electrochemiluminescent immunoassay, and using HPLC/MS/MS analysis for oleandrin, the main cardiac glycoside of Nerium oleander. Confirming the non-specific immunoassay results, which are often clinically over-interpreted, oleandrin was detected by HPLC/MS/MS in the serum sample in a concentration of 1.6 ng/ml upon admission. Comparison with previous reports indicates that single compound analysis only permits a toxicological assessment for oleander poisoning and results in the proposal to classify an oleandrin level between 1.0 and 2.0 ng/ml as toxic blood plasma/serum concentration.