In the United States many patients turn to alternative medications. These substances are neither tested nor approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Knowledge of their side effect profile is lacking. Several of these substances are biologically active at very low concentrations and can therefore exert powerful physiologic effects. Lachesis mutus and Crotalus horridus are snake venoms that can damage vessel intima and promote platelet aggregation. By altering several aspects of Virchow's classic triad, these substances can potentially result in severe adverse events, including myocardial infarction and venous thrombosis. Herein, we report a case of a young woman who presented to the emergency room at our hospital complaining of acute onset chest pain. Detailed history revealed that the patient ingested various substances without her knowledge of side effect profile. Further diagnostic work up revealed an acute ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction due to a thrombus in the left anterior descending artery. Although, there is a plenty of data available through laboratory research describing the properties of some of the substances described in the case; almost none are integrated in patient care. Through this case report, we would like to increase the awareness among practicing health care providers regarding various substances patients may be using without consideration of potential consequences.
Key words: Myocardial infarction, alternative medicine, Lachesis mutus, Crotalus horridus, thrombosis, snake venom.
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