Fatal Small Intestinal Ischemia Due to Methamphetamine Intoxication: Report of a Case With Autopsy Results
Methamphetamine is one of the most common abused drugs, so its various effects on different body organs should be familiar to all physicians. Regarding its gastrointestinal sequels, there are few reports of ischemic colitis induced by its vasoconstrictive effects. This is the first report of isolated small intestinal infarction resulting in death following methamphetamine toxicity. A 40-year-old woman with a past history of medical treatment for obesity referred to hospital with severe chest and back pain, perspiration, nausea, agitation, high blood pressure, bradycardia and subsequent lethargy and vasomotor instability. Cardiac evaluations were normal, and a toxicologic urinalysis revealed methamphetamine. Later, abdominal pain predominated, and ultrasonography revealed signs of bowel infarction. She did not consent to surgery and succumbed afterward. At autopsy gangrene and perforation of distal ileum were found. The cause of death was determined as intestinal gangrene following methamphetamine toxicity. Methamphetamine has anorectic effects and so is used in some "diet pills"; Consumers may not even know they are using methamphetamine. Hence in cases of either known MA abuse or those using unknown weight reduction drugs presenting with gastrointestinal complaints or abdominal pain, intestinal ischemia should be kept in mind and if plausible, intervened promptly.
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