Volume 96, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Although specific antivenom is available in Taiwan, respiratory failure and general pain frequently accompany envenomation and there have been few reports on the management of envenomation. We retrospectively analyzed 44 cases of bite admitted to Taichung Veterans General Hospital (VGH) or to Taipei VGH. Demographic data, treatment, and outcome of patients with and without respiratory failure were compared. In this study, 20.5% patients had bites without noticeable signs or symptoms of significant envenoming, 27.3% developed respiratory failure, and 27.3% experienced general pain. Bivalent specific antivenom for and was administered in all envenomed cases. Respiratory failure occurred 1.5–6.5 hours post-bite and general pain occurred 1–12 hours post-bite. Specific antivenom for and at the recommended dose (i.e., 2–4 vials) might not effectively prevent respiratory failure and pain. Respiratory failure, general pain, and autonomic effects after bite were probably caused, at least partly, by β-bungarotoxin. Although general weakness, ptosis, dysarthria, and dilated pupils were significantly associated with respiratory failure, their predictive value could not be accurately determined in such a retrospective study. Due to the rapid onset of respiratory failure, every suspected envenomed case thus should be closely monitored in the first few hours. We recommend the initial administration of four vials of antivenom in all envenomation cases, and a subsequent four vials be considered if the patient's condition is deteriorating. Prospective evaluation of the antivenom dosing regimen is urgently needed to improve envenomation treatment.


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  • Received : 03 Jan 2017
  • Accepted : 14 Feb 2017
  • Published online : 27 Mar 2017

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