New Mexico rattlesnake bites: demographic review and guidelines for treatment

J Trauma. 1991 Oct;31(10):1380-6.


The demographic features, treatment, and outcome of 36 rattlesnake envenomation cases are reviewed. Two populations at special risk are identified: (1) young children (12/36) who sustain lower extremity bites, and (2) adults who consume alcohol and handle snakes (10/36) who sustain upper extremity bites. Antivenin was used in 22 cases with only one serious case of serum sickness. Three definite diagnoses of compartment syndrome were made on the basis of elevated compartment pressures. Hand bites accounted for 20 of the 36 cases. The greatest functional disability followed digit bites in that 11 patients developed decreased motion and sensation. The indications for fasciotomy and debridement are discussed, both for digit and non-digit envenomations. General treatment recommendations are given.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Extremities / injuries
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Mexico
  • Snake Bites / complications
  • Snake Bites / epidemiology
  • Snake Bites / therapy*