An investigation of snakebite antivenom usage in Taiwan

Chih Chuan Lin*, Chung Hsien Chaou, Chiung Yao Tseng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background/Purpose Four types of antivenom are used to treat snakebites by the six species of venomous snakes native to Taiwan. Research into antivenom use in Taiwan and its outcomes, as well as the utility of current Taiwan Poison Control Center guidelines for antivenom use, has been limited. We aimed to provide increased understanding by investigating the treatment and outcomes of patients treated for snakebite in Taiwan. Methods On the basis of data collected from the 2009 Taiwan National Health Insurance database, patients with snakebites were identified and categorized into two sets of groups according to types of antivenom administered. The relationships between antivenom types, dosage and the variables of antibiotic use, surgical intervention, acute respiratory failure acute, renal failure, antivenom-related allergic reaction, mortality, need for hospital admission, and length of hospitalization were analyzed by multivariate logistic regression and the Kruskal–Wallis test. Results The majority of patients were successfully treated by administration of 1 vial of antivenom and discharged without complications. However, patients treated for neurotoxic-type venom snakebite required administration of larger doses of antivenom and > 30% required surgical intervention, particularly those treated for Chinese cobra snakebite. Approximately 10% of patients were administered two types of antivenom. Conclusion The results partially support Taiwan Poison Control Center guidelines for treating the hemorrhagic-type venom snakebite. However, deficit in the guidelines for treatment of neurotoxic-type venom snakebite is obvious and new guidelines for treatment of neurotoxic-type venom snakebite and diagnosis should be developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-677
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Formosan Medical Association
Volume115
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 01 08 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015

Keywords

  • Taiwan
  • antivenom
  • snakebite

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