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An unusual cause of chest discomfort: case report of oesophageal hirudiniasis
- Figueiredo, Cristóvão, Alves, Joana, Carvalho, Cláudia, Sarmento, António
- Journal of parasitic diseases 2017 v.41 no.2 pp. 596-598
- Hirudinea, case studies, chest, endoscopy, females, hemorrhage, humans, mouth, mucosa, parasitoses, patients, prostheses, warfarin
- Hirudiniasis is caused by sanguivorous leeches feeding on mucous membranes with possible severe obstructive or haemorrhagic manifestations. Few cases have been reported in humans, and most occur in tropical countries. A seventy-year-old female patient presented to our Emergency Department (ED) with retrosternal discomfort. She was taking warfarin for a mechanical prosthetic heart valve. While in the ED, a leech was spontaneously extruded from her mouth, with symptomatic resolution. Endoscopy revealed an area of previous leech attachment in the distal oesophageal, without severe bleeding. Albeit uneventful, this case could have had a devastating outcome.