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Long-term clinical outcome for patients poisoned by the fungal nephrotoxin orellanine

Journal article
Authors Heidi Hedman
Johan Holmdahl
Johan Mölne
Kerstin Ebefors
Börje Haraldsson
Johanna Nyström
Published in BMC Nephrology
Volume 18
ISSN 1471-2369
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Pathology
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Language en
Keywords acute-renal-failure, cortinarius-orellanus, mushroom nephrotoxin, dialysis patients, toxin orellanine, transplantation, intoxication, increases, ingestion, mortality
Subject categories Urology and Nephrology


Background: Accidental intake of mushrooms of the Cortinarius species (deadly webcap) may cause irreversible renal damage and the need for dialysis or transplantation. The species is found in forests of Northern Europe, Scandinavia and North America and may be mistaken for other edible mushrooms. The highly selective nephrotoxic compound of the mushroom is called orellanine. Very little is known about the long-term effects of the nephrotoxin. Methods: We identified patients who ingested deadly webcap in the period of 1979 to 2012. Informed consent and medical records were obtained for 28 of the 39 cases that occurred during the 34-year period. A case control group was also studied based on sex, age and initiation of dialysis or transplantation. Results: The average age at time of the accidental intake was 40 +/- 3 (n = 28) years. 64% of patients were male, and 22 of 28 patients developed acute kidney injury requiring dialysis. Serum creatinine peaked at 1 329 +/- 133 mu mol/l, and serum urea was 31 +/- 3.5 mmol/l. No signs of acute damage were present in any other organ. The average time of follow-up was 16.9 +/- 2.1 years (1.24-34.3 years, n = 28). 15 patients were transplanted and 3 also had a second graft. At follow-up, 23 patients were alive, and five had died at ages of 67 +/- 5 (range 54-84). The outcome was similar in the case control group with 6 deaths in 20 patients. Conclusion: We conclude that the long-term prognosis for patients poisoned by deadly webcap who lost their renal function is not different compared to other patients in active uremic care.

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