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Emergency Medical Minute


Dec 12, 2022

Contributor: Meghan Hurley, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Venomous snakes in the United States include species from the family Elapidae and subfamily Crotalinae
  • In prehospital setting, elevate the bitten extremity and transport to hospital immediately
    • Do not attempt interventions with the bite site 
  • Monitor for progression of swelling past any joint line, systemic symptoms or lab abnormalities for 8-12 hours 
    • Symptoms may present up to hours after bite  
    • Crotalinae venom has heme toxicity and may present with lab pattern of DIC 
  • Treatment for all symptoms is antivenom
    • If symptoms persist or progress, continue to treat with antivenom 
  • Compartment syndrome is rare with snake bites



Ruha AM, Kleinschmidt KC, Greene S, et al. The Epidemiology, Clinical Course, and Management of Snakebites in the North American Snakebite Registry. J Med Toxicol. 2017;13(4):309-320. doi:10.1007/s13181-017-0633-5


Aziz H, Rhee P, Pandit V, Tang A, Gries L, Joseph B. The current concepts in management of animal (dog, cat, snake, scorpion) and human bite wounds. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2015;78(3):641-648. doi:10.1097/TA.0000000000000531


Summarized by Kirsten Hughes, MS4 | Edited by John Spartz, MD, & Erik Verzemnieks, MD


In an effort to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in Emergency Medicine, The Emergency Medical Minute is proud to present our 2nd annual Diversity and Inclusion Award. We support increasing the representation of underrepresented groups in medicine and extend this award to individuals applying to emergency medicine residencies during the 2022-2023 cycle. For information on award eligibility and the application process, visit

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