Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Bilateral Erector Spinae Plane Block for Man o’ War Stings: A Case Report


Introduction: The Portuguese man o’ war, an aquatic invertebrate, is responsible for a large proportion of cnidarian stings worldwide. Cnidaria is a phylum that contains the genus Physalia. These injuries result in severe pain and skin irritation, which are often difficult to control. Traditionally, cnidarian stings have been treated by emergency physicians with warm water, vinegar and, in severe cases, opioids. However, no concrete guidelines have been established for pain management in man o’ war stings.

Case Report: Regional anesthesia (RA) is an increasingly used method of pain control in the emergency department. In the case of a 41-year-old female experiencing severe pain from a Portuguese man o’ war sting, RA with an erector spinae plane block (ESPB) provided her with rapid and long-lasting pain relief.

Conclusion: The standard of care has yet to be defined when managing pain from Physalia physalis stings. Although this is the first documented use of ESPB for treatment of cnidarian stings, RA should be considered by any emergency physician when treating injuries caused by a Portuguese man o’ war.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View