Antitoxin use and pediatric intensive care for viper bites in Rome, Italy

M. Marano, M. Pisani, F. Stoppa, M. Di Nardo, N. Pirozzi, E. Luca, S. Pulitanò, G. Conti, L. Marzano, D. De Luca, P. Valentini, D. Pietrini, M. Piastra

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In Italy viper bites represent an uncommon event, though envenomation can cause severe complications, more in children than adults, because of dose/body size ratio. We present a case series within a selected population: 10 Italian cases (from Rome surroundings) of viperbites requiring PICU admission, over a 5-year interval. Five children showed a systemic involvement, whereas the remaining patients showed a damage. All were managed and closely monitored in an ICU setting. Relevant clinical findings and therapeutic approach, ICU course and complications have been recorded. Age range was 3-15 years with mean age of 6,9 (SD±4,58) years; 2 patients needed respiratory support beyond oxygen supplementation. Most patients underwent fluid loading, while hemodynamic support was given to4/10. Median PICU stay was 60 hours (IQR=24.0-75.5). No mortality was reported. Indications and precautions for administration of antivenom in the last years have been reviewed: early treatment seems to reduce mortality/morbidity, though representing a threat for children. Current recommendations for the treatment of viper envenomation have been described, based on a literature's review and the application of these knowledges to clinical reality of our PICUs. Therefore, paediatric patients with systemic or rapidly evolving symptoms should be monitored carefully for the development of bite-related complications in an ICU setting mostly in younger children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-492
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Antivenin treatment
  • Children envenomation
  • Viper bites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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    Marano, M., Pisani, M., Stoppa, F., Di Nardo, M., Pirozzi, N., Luca, E., Pulitanò, S., Conti, G., Marzano, L., De Luca, D., Valentini, P., Pietrini, D., & Piastra, M. (2014). Antitoxin use and pediatric intensive care for viper bites in Rome, Italy. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, 18(4), 485-492.