Every year 10 to 20 cases of snake bites are reported on the Caribbean island of Martinique. The only snake involved, Bothrops lanceolatus, is endemic on the island, and its bite may lead to systemic multifocal thrombotic complications in the’absence of the monospecific antivenom. Between January 1988 and January 2009, more than 250 snake bites have been reported, and five patients were treated with hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) therapy for local complications. The patients were male, bitten on the leg or the hand, and presented with severe complications such as necrotizing soft tissue infections, compartment syndrome or abscesses despite prompt wound care and administration of antivenomous serum. Outcomes were favorable for these five patients, except for one who was left with a functional defect of the hand. Although snake bites are not part of the currently recommended indications for HBO2 therapy, local complications, namely compartment syndrome, necrotizing soft tissue infections and enhancement of healing in selected problem wounds, are approved uses of HBO2 therapy as defined by the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Committee and would benefit from prospective studies.
Hochedez, Thomas, Mehdaoui, , , , , , (). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy after Bothrops lanceolatus snake bites in Martinique: a brief report. Undersea & hyperbaric medicine : journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc, ;37(6):399-403. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21226390