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Wilderness Environ Med. 2008 Winter;19(4):275-9. doi: 10.1580/07-WEME-CR-153.1.

A case of elevated liver function tests after crown-of-thorns (Acanthaster planci) envenomation.

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Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto, CA, USA.


The crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) inhabits coral reefs, largely throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Its dorsal surface is covered with stout thorn-like spines. When handled or stepped on by humans, the spines can puncture the skin, causing an immediate painful reaction, followed by inflammation and possible infection. Initial pain and swelling may last for days. Effects of envenomation on the liver have been demonstrated previously in animal models, but hepatic toxicity has not previously been described in humans. We describe elevated liver enzymes in a 19-year-old female associated with A planci spine puncture wounds. To our knowledge, this is the first documented report of transaminitis in a human after A planci envenomation.

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