Snakebite antivenom can cause severe adverse effects.
Snakebite complications include rapid progressive swelling, compartment syndrome, haematological disorder (thrombocytopenia) and neurotoxicity. The administration of polyvalent antivenom is indicated in the event of progressive complications. But it should be kept in mind that the antivenom can also provoke adverse reactions ranging from an allergic reaction (pruritus, urticaria) to anaphylactic shock (hypotension, bronchospasm). Antihistamine, hydrocortisone and adrenaline are often administered beforehand as prophylaxis based on theoretical considerations rather than empirically proven effectiveness. Antivenom is dosed the same for children as for adults, based on the type of snakebite and the amount of venom injected. It is administered intravenously over 10 minutes in diluted form, and titrated against progression in the clinical condition. Snakebite treatment may eventually include fasciotomy or amputation for deteriorating compartment syndrome.
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|Author:||Ncayiyana, Daniel J.|
|Publication:||South African Medical Journal|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2009|
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