Snake bite and antivenom complications in belo horizonte, Brazil

Waleska Teixeira Caiaffa, David Vlahov, Carlos Mauricio Figueiredo Antunes, Helen Ramos De Oliveira, Carlos Ribeiro Diniz

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Scopus citations


    Factors associated with clinical complications of snake bite and antivenom therapy were studied in 310 hospital patients admitted with snake bite over 6 years to a tertiary referral hospital in Belo Horizonte, southeast Brazil. Overall, 17·4% had early clinical complications including tissue loss associated with abscess and necrosis, acute renal failure, shock, acute lung oedema and intracranial haemorrhage. 3% had permanent sequelae, caused by muscle contractures and amputations, chronic renal failure, or death. Early complications were associated with the following: Age under 9 years(P=0·04), residence in a rural area(P=0·04), and a delay of more than 8 h in seeking clinical care(P < 0·01). Antivenom was administered to 98·1% of patients; 13·8% presented with anaphylaxis and 11·8% with pyrexia. Individuals from a rural area had a higher occurrence of anaphylactic reactions(P=0·03). Neither anaphylaxis nor pyrexia was linked with antivenom type and dosage. This study suggested that antivenom might be associated with a reduced risk of serious injuries related to snake bite, especially when administered within the first 8 h. Complications appeared to be a far greater risk than adverse reactions to the antivenom.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)81-85
    Number of pages5
    JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 1994

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Parasitology
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Infectious Diseases


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