A Retrospective Review of the Presentation and Treatment of Stingray Stings Reported to a Poison Control System

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Abstract

We studied stingray stings reported to our poison system to identify associated complications and treatments. We undertook a 14-year retrospective observational analysis of stingray stings reported to our poison system. Extracted data included caller age and gender, outcome, management site, symptoms, treatments, and geographical location of the sting. We examined suspected infection rate, hot water treatment efficacy, and possible presence of foreign bodies in the wound. Suspected infection rate was defined as “possible infection” or “likely infection.” Hot water treatment efficacy was defined as cases that encoded hot water as a treatment and noted pain relief within 1 hour of treatment in the free-text record, before documentation of other analgesic administration. A total of 576 envenomations were reported. The majority were men (76%), with an average age of 24 years (range, 6–78 years). Symptoms were reported in 485 cases. A total of 9% recorded a foreign body or debris at the wound site. Symptoms included pain (79%), puncture wound (65%), and edema (25%). Infections were reported in 9% of cases. Hot/warm water immersion appeared effective for pain relief in 69% of cases where outcome was documented. The most common geographical location of stingray envenomations was Southern California. Stingray stings are common in California. Hot/warm water seemed to be effective in pain management in our series, whereas foreign bodies or retained spines and infections were other identified complications.

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