Intracranial hemorrhage after prehospital administration of intramuscular epinephrine

Joel T. Levis, Jonathan B Ford, Albert M. Kuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The administration of epinephrine by the intramuscular route can be life-saving in cases of anaphylaxis or severe allergic reactions. However, the use of this drug can lead to a rapid rise in blood pressure, which theoretically could lead to deleterious effects in patients of any age, with elderly patients at greatest risk. Objectives: To present a rare case of intracranial hemorrhage potentially resulting from the administration of intramuscular epinephrine in an elderly patient with an allergic reaction. Case Report: We present a case report of a 65-year-old woman who developed an intracranial hemorrhage after a single, therapeutic, intramuscular dose of epinephrine for a wasp sting to the tongue. The patient underwent successful craniotomy with evacuation of the intracranial hematoma. Conclusions: In circumstances where the severity of the allergic reaction remains unclear (lack of airway compromise, cardiovascular collapse, or true anaphylaxis), careful consideration of the potential risks of intramuscular epinephrine, such as a rapid rise in blood pressure leading to intracranial hemorrhage, should be undertaken when using this medication in elderly patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Volume40
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2011

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • anaphylaxis
  • emergency department
  • epinephrine
  • intracranial hemorrhage
  • intramuscular

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

Cite this