Hemlock Poisoning Follow-up

Updated: Jun 06, 2017
  • Author: Daniel E Brooks, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Miller, MD  more...
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Follow-up

Further Inpatient Care

See the list below:

  • Observe the patient closely for at least 6 hours after presentation to evaluate for symptoms and progression.
  • Monitor all patients showing evidence of toxicity for possible seizures, dysrhythmias, or respiratory failure in an ICU setting.
  • Counsel pregnant patients that teratogenic effects from poison hemlock exposure have been reported in livestock.
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Transfer

Consider transferring the patient to a facility with a toxicology service.

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Deterrence/Prevention

Educate patients about avoiding ingestions of hemlock and other unidentifiable or mistakenly identified plants.

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Complications

Complications of hemlock ingestion may include the following:

  • Death (secondary to respiratory failure or status epilepticus)
  • Seizures (status epilepticus)
  • Rhabdomyolysis (renal failure) - Hyperkalemia
  • Coma
  • Aspiration pneumonitis
  • Permanent neurologic sequelae
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Prognosis

The prognosis is good if the patient presents early and receives appropriate decontamination and supportive care.

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Patient Education

For patient education resources, see the Poisoning Center and Poisoning - First Aid and Emergency Center, as well as Poisoning and Activated Charcoal.

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