Clinical Presentations, Treatments, and Outcomes of Non-native Snake Envenomations in the United States Reported in the North American Snakebite Registry

on behalf of the ToxIC Snakebite Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Non-native snake envenomations in the United States are uncommon with much unknown about a patient’s presenting signs and symptoms. Antivenoms for non-native snake envenomations are not typically available in hospital pharmacies which may limit their administration. What are the clinical presentations, treatments, and outcomes of non-native snake envenomation cases reported to the North American Snakebite Registry (NASBR) of the Toxicology Investigators Consortium (ToxIC)? Methods: This is a descriptive review of all non-native envenomations reported to the NASBR from 2013 to March 2022. Data abstracted included snake species, patient history, clinical signs, diagnostics, treatment (including antivenom usage), follow-up, and final outcome. Results: We identified 19 non-native snake envenomations resulting from encounters with eleven different species, eight of which belonged to the Viperidae family. The most common presenting symptoms were edema (18 patients), ecchymosis (seven patients), and necrosis (six patients). Systemic effects and hematologic abnormalities were less common. The most common treatments were extremity elevation and analgesia, with two patients receiving mechanical ventilation. Ten patients received antivenom. No patients died. Three patients had loss of mobility in a digit at the last follow-up visit. One patient had permanent tissue loss of a small area on a finger. Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that non-native snake envenomations in the United States frequently cause local soft tissue effects and less frequently cause systemic or hematologic effects. Most patients received antivenom, although several patients envenomated by snakes for which a specific antivenom exists did not receive any. Sequelae at the last follow-up of such encounters consisted of local mobility deficits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-25
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Medical Toxicology
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Antivenom
  • Envenomations
  • Non-native
  • Snakes

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