Life-threatening upper airway edema caused by a distal rattlesnake bite.Ann Emerg Med. 2001 Jul; 38(1):79-82.AE
A 36-year-old man captured a timber rattlesnake and was accidentally envenomated in the thumb by the severed head. At a local emergency department, hypotension and confusion developed. Facial and glossal edema were also observed. Oxygen was delivered by face mask, and crystalloids and dopamine were administered. Respiratory distress developed with progressive hypoxemia. Intubation was unsuccessful because of massive glossal and epiglottic (laryngeal) edema, and an emergency cricothyrotomy was performed. High-dose antivenom therapy was administered, and mechanical ventilation was started. Recovery was rapid, and the patient was discharged from the hospital a week later. This is the first report of life-threatening upper airway edema caused by snake envenomation not in the vicinity of the head or neck.