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Coagulopathy after snake bite byBothrops neuwiedi: Case report and results of in vitro experiments


Coagulation studies were performed in a patient who had been bitten by a snake of the speciesBothrops neuwiedi. The patient presented with hemorrhagic necrosis at the envenomization site and considerable bleeding from venous puncture sites. He developed a severe defibrination syndrome with a clottable fibrinogen level of approximately 0.1 g/l. Fibrinogen was not measurable by clotting time assay. Fibrin degradation products were greatly elevated. Treatment with antivenom caused an anaphylactic reaction within ten minutes and serum sickness after three days. In vitro experiments revealed thatB. neuwiedi venom directly activates Factors II and X, but does not activate Factor XIII. In vivo consumption of Factor XIII afterB. neuwiedi envenomization is ascribed to the action of Factor IIa. At low venom concentrations clotting is initiated by activation of prothrombin by the venom either directly or via Factor X activation. Treatment with heparin might be beneficial in coagulopathy secondary to snake bite by reducing circulating active thrombin. The venom contains thrombinlike proteases which cause slow clotting of fibrinogen, and plasmin-like components causing further proteolysis of fibrinogen and fibrin. Antivenom has no effect on the proteolytic action of the snake venom. The in vivo effects of antivenom are presumably caused by acceleration of the elimination of venom components from the circulation. Intravenous administration of antivenom caused normalization of blood coagulation parameters within 48 h.

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Correspondence to C. E. Dempfle.

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Dempfle, C.E., Kohl, R., Harenberg, J. et al. Coagulopathy after snake bite byBothrops neuwiedi: Case report and results of in vitro experiments. Blut 61, 369–374 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01738552

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Key words

  • Snake venom
  • Bothrops neuwiedi
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation
  • Thrombin
  • Factor Xa