Plasma exchange as a complementary approach to snake bite treatment: An academic emergency department's experiences

ZENGİN S., Yilmaz M., AL B., YILDIRIM C., Yarbil P., Kilic H., ...More

TRANSFUSION AND APHERESIS SCIENCE, vol.49, no.3, pp.494-498, 2013 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Snake bites are leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, especially in rural areas. Therapeutic plasma exchange has been used in the treatment of many different conditions such as immunologic diseases, toxicologic disorders, and snake envenomation. The aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of plasma exchange treatment on clinical status, outcomes, and discharge of patients who were bitten by venomous snakes. The study was conducted retrospectively in the Emergency Department of Gaziantep University from January 2002 to December 2011. Thirty-seven patients were included in the present study. Routine biochemical and hematologic laboratory parameters were studied before and after plasma exchange. Demographic data, clinical status, and outcomes of patients were recorded. Plasma exchange was performed by using centrifugation technology via an intravenous antecubital or subclavian vein catheter access. Human albumin/fresh frozen plasma was used as replacement fluids. A significant correlation was seen between therapeutic plasma exchange and improvement of laboratory results. None of the study patients lost their limbs. Eight patients were sent to the intensive care unit. The mean length of the hospital stay was 12.2 days (4-28). All patients were discharged with good recovery. No complications were seen during the 3 months following discharge. Plasma exchange appears to be an effective treatment intervention for snake bite envenomations, especially in the management of hematologic problems and in limb preservation/salvage strategies. In addition to traditional treatment methods, plasma exchange should be considered by emergency physicians in cases of snake bite envenomation as a therapeutic approach to facilitate rapid improvement. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.