Bee Attack or Heart Attack: Kounis Syndrome


Gulf Coast


Corpus Christi Medical Center

Document Type

Case Report

Publication Date



kounis syndrome, anaphylactic reaction, allergic acute coronary syndrome, plaque rupture, allergic angina, stent thrombosis, coronary artery vasospasm


Allergy and Immunology | Cardiology | Cardiovascular Diseases | Immune System Diseases | Internal Medicine


Kounis syndrome (KS) is defined as an allergic or hypersensitivity reaction leading to coronary vasospasm and acute coronary syndrome. The inflammatory mediators released during the body’s reaction to an allergen causes vasoconstriction, plaque rupture, platelet aggregation, and even thrombosis of an existing coronary stent. Over the years, many allergens including drugs, environmental exposures, and animal and insect bites have been implicated in KS. Patients may present with elevated cardiac enzymes and electrocardiographic changes. We describe a case of a patient with no prior cardiac history who presented to the emergency department seeking treatment after multiple bee stings. The patient had non-specific electrocardiogram (ECG) changes and elevated cardiac enzymes consistent with a non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction. The patient underwent a pharmacologic stress test and myocardial perfusion imaging, which showed a perfusion defect consistent with ischemia. Selective right and left coronary angiography revealed a critical lesion at the proximal left circumflex artery. This was managed with percutaneous coronary intervention utilizing a bare-metal stent.

Publisher or Conference