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Acta Anaesthesiol Belg. 2005;56(1):19-21.

Herbal ecstasy: cardiovascular complications of khat chewing in pregnancy.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Reproductive Medicine, University of California San Diego, UCSD Medical Center, California 92103-8770, USA.


Chewing fresh leaves of the Khat plant (Catha edulis Celestrasae) is a widespread habit (also practiced by women, even during pregnancy) with a deep-rooted tradition in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. With the influx of immigrants from East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula khat chewing has been imported into other countries including Europe the United States. The major pharmacologically active constituent of the fresh khat leaves is cathinone. Khat (also known as herbal ecstasy) is chewed for its central nervous system stimulant properties, which resemble amphetamine. Cardiovascular complications from cathinone use may therefore be similar to those of amphetamine. I herein present the first reported case of a pregnant patient who developed chest pain, tachycardia, and hypertension following khat-chewing session.

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