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Scorpion stings in pregnancy: an analysis of outcomes in 66 envenomed pregnant patients in Iran

Mahin Najafian1, Ahmad Ghorbani2, Mahvash Zargar1, Masoumeh Baradaran2, Nafiseh Baradaran1 [ + show more ]

J Venom Anim Toxins incl Trop Dis, 2020, 26:e20190039
Received: 09 August 2019 | Accepted: 21 February 2020 | Published online: 30 April 2020


Background: Scorpionism is one of the most important health problems in tropical regions, which unfortunately results in thousands of deaths annually. Pregnant women are potential victims in areas with high scorpion-sting prevalence. Limited medical data are available on the effects of scorpion envenomation in pregnant women. This study aimed to examine the effect of scorpion envenomation on pregnancy outcomes in 66 cases. Methods: The present descriptive/analytical cross-sectional study was performed on 66 scorpion-envenomed pregnant women referred to the clinical toxicology unit of Ahvaz Razi Hospital in Iran during 2015-2017. The variables assessed in all cases, via questionnaire and hospital medical records, were: age, patient residency, gestational week, status of the fetus, laboratory anomalies, clinical severity of envenomation, sting site and scorpion species. Pregnancy outcome (miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth, normal delivery) and status of the newborns were also evaluated. Data were analyzed using SPSS ® software (version 24.0). Results: The following pregnancy outcomes were recorded from envenomed pregnant women: miscarriage = 1.5% (n = 1), stillbirth = 4.5% (n = 3), preterm birth = 10.6% (n = 7), normal birth = 83% (n = 55). Among participants whose pregnancy led to birth, 11(17.7%) cases had prenatal-neonatal complications. Neonatal complications, including Apgar score less than 8 points at 5 min, were found in 7 (11.3%) preterm birth cases and in 4 (6.4%) normal birth cases, along with birth weight below 2500 g in normal births. A significant relationship was found between adverse pregnancy outcomes and bite location, as well as scorpion species, but no relationship was found with other variables. Conclusion: Envenomation significantly contributes to preterm birth. Moreover, the location of bites and the type of scorpion species have a decisive role in the pregnancy outcome of scorpion-envenomed pregnant women.


Keywords: Scorpionism; Pregnancy complications; Stillbirth; Preterm birth

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