UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Toxicology

Title: Mushroom Toxicity - Clinical Approach

Keywords: amanita, mushroom, poisoning (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/28/2010 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Updated: 4/22/2024)
Click here to contact Fermin Barrueto, MD

When a patient presents to the ED with a recent ingestion of a wild mushroom there are three very specific questions you must ask:

1) Exactly what time did you eat the mushroom?

2) Exactly what time did you begin vomiting/diarrhea/GI Sx in general?

3) Are there are more mushrooms that can be brought to ED for identification?

The reason the first two questions are critically important is it determines the total time of onset of toxicity. As a very general rule of thumb, delayed GI symptoms >6hrs is predictive of a possible lethal ingestion of a cyclopeptide containing mushroom like Amanita Phalloides. Immediate symptoms < 6hrs and even more so if within 2 hrs usually indicates ingestion of a nonlethal mushroom that causes GI distress (many mushrooms like Clitocybe nebularis)

Website with pics of the most poisonous mushrooms:

There is a saying:

"There are old mushroom pickers and wise mushroom pickers but no old and wise mushroom pickers"