Thromboelastography in the management of snakebite-induced coagulopathy: a case series and literature review

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Abstract

North American crotaline envenomations are a significant source of morbidity annually. Envenomation is marked by a constellation of effects that can include severe tissue damage, systemic effects such as anaphylaxis, and coagulopathy with bleeding. Traditionally, static plasma-derived tests such as protime and PTT are used to assess coagulation status. However, other tests are available that provide a whole blood assessment of all portions of coagulation including initiation, propagation, and clot maintenance. One such analytical test is TEG. Minimal data is available regarding the effect of snake venom on TEG results. We report on three cases of North American crotaline envenomation with subsequent TEG analysis. Our results show that TEG analysis does relate the same information as traditional monitoring parameters. Although only in an isolated case, the TEG analysis potentially revealed a fibrinolytic process prior to the same process being apparent with traditional monitoring. Future research is necessary to identify the role of TEG in crotaline snakebite management.

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