Snakebite treatment at a southeastern regional referral center.Am Surg. 1995 Sep; 61(9):767-72.AS
Our objective was to determine the prevalence of poisonous snakebite victims admitted to a regional trauma center in Southeastern Georgia over a 10-year period, as well as the type of snake, grade of envenomation, treatment administered, morbidity and mortality, and outcome. Records of patients admitted to the center for snakebite from a 24-county catchment area during the 10-year period (January 1984 to January 1994) were retroactively reviewed. Sixty-three (63) bites in 62 victims of venomous snakebites were treated. The snake distribution was rattlesnake: 19 (30%), copperhead: 18 (29%), cottonmouth moccasin: 8 (12%), unknown: 18 (29%). Envenomation grades were Grade I: 20 (32%), Grade II: 24 (38%), Grade III: 10 (16%), and Grade IV: 9 (14%). Fourteen of 19 (74%) Grades III and IV envenomations were from rattlesnakes. Antivenin was used in all Grade IV and half of the Grade III envenomations. Antivenin was administered within 3 hours of injury in all but one case. Five patients had surgery. Two patients (both Grade I) developed anaphylaxes from antivenin given before hospitalization. All patients recovered. An average of 6 snakebites were treated each year. Expeditious transport, attention to the type of snake inflicting the bite, and judicious use of antivenin will result in a favorable outcome for the snakebite victim.