, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 322-323
Date: 08 Nov 2011

Pressure Immobilization After North American Crotalinae Snake Envenomation

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Background

The vast majority of venomous snake bites treated at health care facilities in the United States of America each year involve nonneurotoxic Crotalinae species [1]. Large case series reveal the major clinical effect associated with these envenomations to be local tissue injury. Extremity swelling and dermonecrosis are common, with compartment syndrome as an infrequent but potentially limb-threatening effect of envenomation [25]. Life-threatening systemic toxicity and death are rare.

Historically, many first aid measures have been employed in the treatment of snake bites, but none have been shown to improve patient outcome. Pressure immobilization is a technique routinely employed in the prehospital management of neurotoxic snake species in Australia. First described by Sutherland and colleagues in the 1970s, pressure immobilization involves wrapping the entire extremity with a bandage and then immobilizing the extremity with a splint [6]. The bandage should generate a pressure ...

This position statement is being published jointly and simultaneously with Clinical Toxicology and will appear in their December 2011 print issue.