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Pulmonary Effects and Complications of SnakebitesSnakebites and the Lung

Ariaranee Gnanathasan, MPhil, MD; Chaturaka Rodrigo, MD
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From the Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

CORRESPONDENCE TO: Ariaranee Gnanathasan, MPhil, MD, Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, 25 Kynsey Rd, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka; e-mail: ariaranee2000@yahoo.com


Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2014;146(5):1403-1412. doi:10.1378/chest.13-2674
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This review is on the pulmonary complications of snakebites, which can have fatal consequences. We identified three common themes as reported in the literature regarding envenomation: generalized neuromuscular paralysis affecting airway and respiratory muscles, pulmonary edema, and pulmonary hemorrhages or thrombosis due to coagulopathy. Respiratory paralysis and pulmonary edema can be due to either elapid or viper bites, whereas pulmonary complications of coagulopathy are exclusively reported with viper bites. The evidence for each complication, timeline of appearance, response to treatment, and details of pathophysiology are discussed.

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