Background.—Scorpion sting envenomation is a life-threatening emergency and a common public health problem in many regions of the world, particularly in children. Children are at greater risk of developing severe cardiac, respiratory, and neurological complications.
Objectives.—The aims of this study were to evaluate demographic, clinical, laboratory, treatment, and outcome characteristics for pediatric patients with scorpion sting envenomation in southeast Turkey and to describe features that may be predictive of the need for pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) care.
Methods.—A total of 52 charts of children (mean age: 7.7 ± 2.8 years; age range: 1.5–15 years) presenting with scorpion sting envenomation to a single hospital in southeastern Turkey were investigated. General characteristics of the children, species of the scorpions, anatomic site of the sting, clinical and laboratory findings, treatment approaches, complications, and outcomes were recorded.
Results.—Twenty-four stings (46.2%) were inflicted by Androctonus crassicauda, 1 (1.9%) by Leiurus quinquestriatus, and the sources of the other stings were not known. Thirty-one patients (59.6%) were admitted from rural areas. Admission from a rural area was a significant risk factor for severe envenomation. Foot-leg was the most frequently stung part of the body (48%). The greatest number of stings occurred in the summer (78.8%). Cold extremities and tachycardia were the most frequently seen clinical findings (38.4% for both). Twenty patients (38.5%) had signs of serious envenomation and required admission to the PICU. Hemoglobin, white blood cell count, activated prothrombin time, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, and creatine phosphokinase levels were higher in severely envenomed children compared to levels in those with mild-moderate stings. Antivenom was given at a primary or secondary health center before arrival to our hospital in 44 (84.6%) patients, without any apparent difference in the number of patients presenting with mild-moderate and severe envenomed stings. All patients recovered after treatment except for 1 child who died with severe pulmonary edema.
Conclusions.—We found no clinically useful demographic or epidemiological data to guide decision making regarding the need for PICU admission for pediatric victims of scorpion sting in our area. Decisions on transfer and admission to a PICU should be based on the development of systemic findings of envenomation.