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Wilderness Environ Med. 2012 Jun;23(2):158-60. doi: 10.1016/j.wem.2012.02.004. Epub 2012 Apr 10.

Black widow spider envenomation, a rare cause of Horner's syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Wake Forest Baptist Health, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.


Horner's syndrome involves a triad of eyelid ptosis, miosis, and facial anhidrosis that results from disruption of the oculosympathetic pathway. Acquired Horner's syndrome is associated with a variety of medical conditions including Pancoast tumor and carotid dissection. We report the unique case of a 47-year-old man presenting with Horner's syndrome 4 weeks after black widow spider envenomation. Workup did not reveal any alternative explanatory etiology. We hypothesize that late sequelae of black widow spider envenomation secondary to autonomic nerve injury or retrograde axonal transport after mechanical inoculation may have led to an acquired defect in the oculosympathetic pathway resulting in a Horner's syndrome. This case introduces a rare cause of Horner's syndrome and highlights the importance of environmental exposures in the evaluation of these patients.

Copyright © 2012 Wilderness Medical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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