Nigerian Medical Practitioner

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Pattern of First-Aid Measures Used by Snake-bite Patients and Clinical Outcome at Zamko Comprehensive Health Centre, Langtang, Plateau State

JKA Madaki, RE Obilom, BM Mandong


The use of first aid measures in the management of snake bite by patients in rural communities in Africa is a popular practice. Records of 103 snake bite patients admitted at Zamko Comprehensive Health Centre, were retrieved and reviewed. 84 (81.6%) of the 103 cases with snake bite used first aid measures. Common first aid measures employed include tourniquet (ropes, pieces of cloth), use of the black stone, application of traditional medicine and incision of site of bites. The use of first aid measure did not prevent spread of the venom. There was no significant increase in the proportion of patients with tissue necrosis between patient that used tourniquet and those that did not (7.9% vs 5.3%). Patients that did not employ first aid measures required significantly higher doses (mls) of antivenom compared to those who used tourniquet (39.33 Vs 24.52 P< 0.01); those who use traditional medicine (39.33 Vs 27.5 P < 0.01); and those who used black stone (39.33 Vs 28.75 P < 0.01). Also those who used the black stone required significantly higher quantity of antivenom as compared to those that used the tourniquet (28.75 vs 24.52 P < 0.05). The use of the tourniquet, traditional herbs and the black stone appears to have beneficial effects by reducing the average antivenom requirement of patients and more studies are needed to identify the most appropriate approaches to their use.

Key words: Snake bite, pattern, first-aid use, treatment outcome

Nigerian Medical Practitioner Vol. 48 (1) 2005:10-13

AJOL African Journals Online