Items in AFP with MESH term: Antivenins
ABSTRACT: Venomous snakebites, although uncommon, are a potentially deadly emergency in the United States. Rattlesnakes cause most snakebites and related fatalities. Venomous snakes in the United States can be classified as having hemotoxic or neurotoxic venom. Patients with venomous snakebites present with signs and symptoms ranging from fang marks, with or without local pain and swelling, to life-threatening coagulopathy, renal failure, and shock. First-aid techniques such as arterial tourniquets, application of ice, and wound incisions are ineffective and can be harmful; however, suction with a venom extractor within the first five minutes after the bite may be useful. Conservative measures, such as immobilization and lymphatic constriction bands, are now advocated until emergency care can be administered. Patients with snakebites should undergo a comprehensive work-up to look for possible hematologic, neurologic, renal, and cardiovascular abnormalities. Equine-derived antivenin is considered the standard of care; however, a promising new treatment is sheep-derived antigen binding fragment ovine (CroFab), which is much less allergenic. Although there is no universal grading system for snakebites, a I through IV grading scale is clinically useful as a guide to antivenin administration. Surgical intervention with fasciotomy is now reserved for rare cases. Snakebite prevention should be taught to patients.
ABSTRACT: About 4,000 to 6,000 venomous snakebites occur each year in the United States. Although these envenomations (also known as envenomings) are rarely fatal, about 70 percent require antivenom therapy. Few evidence-based guidelines are available for the management of envenomation. Antivenom therapy is the cornerstone of management for hemorrhagic or coagulopathic envenomation from pit vipers (with or without paralytic features), and for paralytic envenomation from coral snakes. Early intubation and ventilation may be required after bites from pit vipers whose venoms contain presynaptic neurotoxins. Although relatively controversial, antivenom therapy seems to be effective for the management of severe envenomation from widow spiders. Conversely, little evidence supports any specific management strategy for necrotic envenomation from recluse spiders. Cytotoxic fish stings, cnidarian stings, and traumatic penetrative envenomation by stingrays are typically managed symptomatically. Private collection of nonnative venomous animals in the United States is another source of medical risk.