Management of respiratory failure in severe neuroparalytic snake envenomation

Neurol India. 2001 Mar;49(1):25-8.


Fourteen patients with severe neuroparalytic snake envenomation, resulting in acute type II respiratory failure, admitted to respiratory critical care unit for mechanical ventilation during one year period, were studied. Ventilatory requirements, amount of anti snake venom (ASV) infused, period of neurological recovery and hospital survival were evaluated. All patients had severe manifestations such as ptosis, extraocular muscle paresis and limb weakness along with dyspnoea. Seven patients (50%) had additional complaints of dysphagia and dysphonia. ASV was administered to all, with a median requirement of 900 ml. Mechanical ventilation was required for a median duration of 17 hours and all except one patient, who had suffered irreversible hypoxic cerebral injury prior to resuscitation, survived with complete neurological recovery. We conclude, that the timely institution of ventilatory support and anti-venom therapy in such patients, is associated with an excellent outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bungarotoxins
  • Child
  • Elapid Venoms
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiration, Artificial*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Snake Bites / complications*
  • Snake Bites / therapy*


  • Bungarotoxins
  • Elapid Venoms