Tuesday, October 27, 2009


This is Stuart with a black-headed python. He gave a talk on current snake-bite treatments (important because 7 of the worlds 10 most poisonous snakes live in Australia).

Pressure immobilization

In 1979, Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council formally adopted pressure immobilization as the preferred method of first aid treatment for snakebites in Australia.[27] As of 2009, clinical evidence for pressure immobilization remains limited, with current evidence based almost entirely on anecdotal case reports.[27] This has led most international authorities to question its efficacy.[27] Despite this, all reputable first aid organizations in Australia recommend pressure immobilization treatment; however, it is not widely adhered to, with one study showing that only a third of snakebite patients attempt pressure immobilization.[27]

Pressure immobilization is not appropriate for cytotoxic bites such as those inflicted by most vipers,[28][29][30] but may be effective against neurotoxic venoms such as those of most elapids.[31][32][33] Developed by medical researcher Struan Sutherland in 1978,[34] the object of pressure immobilization is to contain venom within a bitten limb and prevent it from moving through the lymphatic system to the vital organs. This therapy has two components: pressure to prevent lymphatic drainage, and immobilization of the bitten limb to prevent the pumping action of the skeletal muscles.

Pressure is preferably applied with an elastic bandage, but any cloth will do in an emergency. Bandaging begins two to four inches above the bite (i.e. between the bite and the heart), winding around in overlapping turns and moving up towards the heart, then back down over the bite and past it towards the hand or foot. Then the limb must be held immobile: not used, and if possible held with a splint or sling. The bandage should be about as tight as when strapping a sprained ankle. It must not cut off blood flow, or even be uncomfortable; if it is uncomfortable, the patient will unconsciously flex the limb, defeating the immobilization portion of the therapy. The location of the bite should be clearly marked on the outside of the bandages. Some peripheral edema is an expected consequence of this process.

Apply pressure immobilization as quickly as possible; if you wait until symptoms become noticeable you will have missed the best time for treatment. Once a pressure bandage has been applied, it should not be removed until the patient has reached a medical professional. The combination of pressure and immobilization may contain venom so effectively that no symptoms are visible for more than 24 hours, giving the illusion of a dry bite. But this is only a delay; removing the bandage releases that venom into the patient's system with rapid and possibly fatal consequences.

Get to the nearest ED for antivenom treatments,. Don't need to bring the snake since they can test for which on at the hospital.

When we asked him where(zoo, wildlife park, etc.) we could see a common death adder, he named a street in Sydney. It would be like asking where someone could see a dangerous animal in Durham and being told Roxboro St.

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