Case Review| Volume 47, ISSUE 4, P551-556.e1, July 2021

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Kratom Ingestion and Emergency Care: Summary and a Case Report

Published:April 13, 2021DOI:


      Kratom ingestion for its psychotropic effect or to self-treat opioid withdrawal symptoms has increased over the last 10 years in the United States. Although mild adverse effects have been observed in users, reports of respiratory failure and shock after kratom consumption remain rare. In this case, a 35-year-old man initially presented to the emergency department with profound circulatory shock, metabolic acidosis, hypoxia, and symptoms of autonomic nervous system dysfunction. The patient required vasopressor support, multiregimen sedation and rapid sequence intubation, mechanical ventilation, and emergent hemodialysis. Within 72 hours, the patient’s condition stabilized, and he was extubated. The patient reported regular consumption of large quantities of kratom as well as injection of heroin and cocaine. In this report, a rare clinical presentation after kratom ingestion is described.

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      Alex Hall is Director of Clinical Trials, Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA.


      Dora Hall is Clinical Pharamcy Specialist, Emergency Medicine, Department of Pharmaceutical Services, Emory Decatur Hospital, Decatur, GA.