Bites by Russell's viper (Vipera russelli siamensis) in Burma: haemostatic, vascular, and renal disturbances and response to treatment.
Myint-Lwin None., Warrell DA., Phillips RE., Tin-Nu-Swe None., Tun-Pe None., Maung-Maung-Lay None.
Of 123 patients with proved Russell's viper bite, 28% showed no evidence of envenoming, 28% had local swelling alone, but 44% had systemic envenoming manifested by incoagulable blood (100% of those admitted before treatment), thrombocytopenia (26%), spontaneous systemic bleeding (20%), hypotension (35%), evidence of increased capillary permeability (24%), and oliguria (44%). Patients with systemic envenoming usually had more local swelling than those without, but 5 had no local signs. Snake length correlated with the amount of local swelling, but snakes causing systemic envenoming were no longer than those causing local or no envenoming. Burma Pharmaceutical Industry monospecific antivenom was rapidly effective in restoring blood coagulability but did not prevent the development of renal failure even when given within 4 h of the bite. Hypotension responded to volume expanders (11/19 cases) and dopamine (6/7 cases) but not to naloxone (0/3) or high-dose methylprednisolone (0/5). The 10 deaths (8%) were attributed to hypotension, pituitary haemorrhage, and renal failure.