Podcast #67: Snake Bites - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast #67: Snake Bites

Run Time: 7 minutesprairierattlesnake_002

Author: Dr. Gregory Burcham

Educational Pearls:

  • Colorado has 20+ snake species, one of the poisonous types is the Prairie Rattlesnake.
  • Snake venom causes issues with coagulopathy and neurological problems.
  • 25% of rattlesnake bites are dry (without poison). This is often the case in adult rattlesnake bites. Baby rattlesnakes will always release venom with their bite.
  • If envenomated, the area proximal to the bite will develop swelling, and ecchymosis possibly causing renal failure and rhabdomyolysis.
  • The neurotoxin in the venom can cause local paresthesias, fasciculations, a spontaneous metallic taste, and eventually seizures.
  • When bitten, do NOT cut the wound or attempt to suck out the poison.
  • Treatment for snake bites is CroFab, this is an antibody that binds to the neurotoxin and neutralizes it. CroFab costs a few thousands dollars per vial and each patient may need over ten vials depending on the progression of symptoms.

References:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2700615/

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