UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Toxicology

Title: Pressure Immobilization for Crotalid snake envenomation

Keywords: crotalinae, snake, pressure immobilization, envenomation (PubMed Search)

Posted: 3/4/2012 by Bryan Hayes, PharmD (Emailed: 3/8/2012) (Updated: 3/8/2012)
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Pressure immobilization involves wrapping the entire extremity with a bandage and then immobilizing the extremity with a splint. It is a technique routinely employed in the pre-hospital management of neurotoxic snakes in Australia.

A position statement was recently published by several international toxicology societies regarding the utility of pressure immobilization after North American Crotalinae snake envenomation (e.g., Copperheads, Timber rattlesnakes, Cottonmouths).

"Available evidence fails to establish the efficacy of pressure immobilization in humans, but indicates the possibility of serious adverse events arising from its use. The use of pressure immobilization for the pre-hospital treatment of North American Crotalinae envenomation is NOT recommended."


Pressure immobilization after North American Crotalinae snake envenomation. Clin Toxicol;2011;49(10):881-2.

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