P060: Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome presentation to the emergency department: a two-year multi-centre retrospective study Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Introduction: Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) is a paradoxical side effect of cannabis use. Patients with CHS often present multiple times to the Emergency Department (ED) with cyclical nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, and are discharged with various misdiagnoses. CHS studies to date are limited to case series. We examined the epidemiology of CHS cases presenting to two major urban Tertiary Care Centre EDs. Methods: Using explicit variables, trained abstractors, and standardized abstraction forms, we abstracted data for all adults (18-55 years) with a presenting complaint of vomiting, and/or a discharge diagnosis of vomiting and/or cyclical vomiting, during a 2-year period. Inter-rater agreement was measured using a kappa statistic. Results: We identified 494 cases: mean age 31 years; 36% male; only 19.4% of charts specifically reported cannabis use. Among the regular cannabis users (>3 times per week), 43% had repeat ED visits for similar complaints. Interestingly, of these patients, 92% had bloodwork done in the ED, 92% received IV fluids, 89% received anti-emetics, 27% received opiates, 19% underwent imaging, 8% were admitted to hospital, and 8% were referred to the Gastroentorology service. Inter-rater reliability for data abstraction was kappa = 1. Conclusion: This study suggests CHS may be an overlooked diagnosis for nausea and vomiting, a factor which can possibly contribute to unnecessary investigations and treatment in the ED. Additionally, this indicates a lack of screening for CHS on ED history, especially in quantifying cannabis use and eliciting associated symptoms of CHS.

publication date

  • May 2016