Time Is of the Essence: Assessment and Management Updates for Patients Presenting With Snake Envenomation
Charles J. Gerardo, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery
Duke University School of Medicine
Chief, Division of Emergency Medicine
Duke University Medical Center
Jaime Symowicz, PhD
Manager, Educational Strategy and Content
Kathryn Schaefer, MSN, RN, CPHRM
Senior Manager, Accreditation and Compliance
East Lansing, MI
Upon completion, participants should be able to:
- Recognize the effects of resulting symptoms of copperhead envenomation on patient daily functioning
- Evaluate the benefits and limitations of using crotaline Fab antivenom to treat pit viper envenomation
- Identify best practices for the assessment, treatment, and follow-up of patients presenting with pit viper envenomation
This activity is intended for emergency department physicians, intensive care unit physicians, hospitalists, surgeons, nurses, and pharmacists.
Statement of Need
Approximately 9,000 patients with snakebites present to emergency departments each year. The majority of these snakebites are from crotaline snakes (pit vipers), with envenomation occurring in about 75% of cases and with copperheads being responsible for about 50% of envenomation cases. Although symptoms are rarely life-threatening, these patients often experience significant pain and swelling, which inhibit their activities of daily living for about 1 to 3 weeks. Management practices for envenomation vary among medical centers, especially regarding the use of antivenom therapy, which has recently been associated with reduced limb disability and opioid use in patients with copperhead envenomation. To maximize recovery and improve the outcomes of patients presenting with pit viper envenomation, healthcare providers encountering these patients should be aware of available treatment algorithms, antivenom therapies, potential management strategies, and follow-up care recommendations.
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To receive credit, read the introductory CME/CE/CPE material, listen to the audiocast, and complete the evaluation, attestation, and post-test, answering at least 70% of the post-test questions correctly.
Initial Release Date: June 20, 2018
Expiration Date: June 19, 2019
Estimated Time to Complete This Activity: 1 hour
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Charles J. Gerardo, MD
Contracted research: BTG International Inc.
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This activity is supported by an educational grant from BTG International Inc.
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