Contributing Factors for Complications and Outcomes in Patients With Snakebite: Experience in a Medical Center in Southern Taiwan

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Abstract

Objectives

Snakebite usually results in various complications, such as significant soft tissue damage, infection, hematological, and neurological deficit. Surgical intervention, usually, is indicated in patients with tissue necrosis, infection, and compartment syndrome. To identify the contributing factors for complications and outcomes in different patients with snakebite so that outcomes can be evaluated and treatment of such patients can be initiated at the earliest.

Methods

Information was collected regarding age, sex, underlying disease, species of snake, and the course of treatment of the victims of snakebite who visited the emergency department of a medical center in southern Taiwan between 2004 and 2014. The data obtained were analyzed using SPSS 20.0.

Results

The bites from Taiwan cobra (Naja naja atra) significantly resulted in more complications than those from other snakes and required surgical intervention. The use of antivenin and antibiotics, immediate presentation to the hospital, and the location of the bite also were significant contributing factors.

Conclusions

Taiwan cobra significantly results in higher possibility of prolonged hospitalization, operation, tissue necrosis, infection, and necrotizing fasciitis. Location of the bite, immediate presentation to the hospital, and use of antivenin and antibiotics affect the outcome of snakebite. Knowledge of these factors will help in a better management of patients with snakebite.

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