The puff adder (Bitis arietans) is a venomous viper mainly found in sub-Saharan Africa. Due to its common occurrence and potent venom, it is considered to be the most dangerous snake in Africa, responsible for most snakebite fatalities there. Puff adder bites outside Africa are rare and involve captive vipers. We present the unusual case of puff adder envenomation in an Austrian man. A 26-year-old Austrian man was bitten by a puff adder that he kept illegally in his home. On admission he showed signs of local and systemic toxicity. He was stabilized with antivenom, intravenous fluids, catecholamines and packed platelets. Hyperbaric oxygenation was begun due to incipient compartment syndrome on the second day and continued until the eleventh day, when the patient had recovered completely and could be discharged. The venom of Bitis arietans can cause serious systemic and local complications. Our patient suffered from both. Systemic signs included hemodynamic as well as hemostaseologic impairment. Local effects included swelling and incipient compartment syndrome. Systemic and local treatment, including hyperbaric oxygenation, effected a full recovery. We suggest that, whenever feasible, hyperbaric oxygenation should be considered as adjunct treatment in snake bites to avert adverse outcomes.
Rainer, Kaufmann, Smolle-Juettner, Krejs, , , , , (). Case report: Hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of puff adder (Bitis arietans) bite. Undersea & hyperbaric medicine : journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc, ;37(6):395-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21226389