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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Fatality Following Intentional Ingestion of Cerbera odollam Seeds


Seeds from the mangrove plant Cerbera odollam, known as the “suicide tree,” are responsible for a significant number of plant deaths worldwide but are not well recognized in Western medicine. Cerberin is a cardiac glycoside concentrated in the plant’s seeds, which causes disrupted cardiac electrical activity leading to fatal dysrhythmias. We present a fatal case of intentional C. odollam seed ingestion. The patient experienced high-degree heart block and cardiac arrest despite supportive treatment and digoxin immune fab administration. Clinicians should be aware of the potential morbidity and mortality associated with C. odollam poisoning and be prepared for resuscitative interventions.

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