Effects of constriction bands on rattlesnake venom absorption: A pharmacokinetic study

Jefferey L Burgess, Richard C. Dart, Ned B. Egen, Michael Mayersohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


Study objective: To determine whether the use of a constriction band alters systemic absorption of rattlesnake venom in pigs and whether constriction band use alters local swelling. Design: Using a crossover design, five pigs were studied with and without the use of a constriction band. 125l-Labeled Western Diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) venom was injected subcutaneously into one foreleg. The protocol was repeated using the opposite foreleg six days later. The constriction band was applied at the time of injection and removed four hours later. Plasma radioactivity and leg circumference were measured serially. Results: Maximum plasma venom concentration and area under the venom concentration-time curve were compared in trials with and without constriction band. Within the initial four hours, application of a constriction band decreased maximum plasma venom concentration by 25% and area under the venom concentration-time curve by 33% (P < .05). After the constriction band removal at four hours, maximum plasma venom concentration and the area under the venom concentration-time curve were not significantly different between groups. Application of a constriction band did not result in a statistically significant increase in maximum leg circumference as compared with trials without a constriction band. Conclusion: The use of a constriction band was effective in reducing venom absorption while it was in place (reduced area under the venom concentration-time curve and maximum plasma venom concentration in the cuffed group), and constriction band removal did not result in a significant increase in maximum plasma venom concentration. Leg swelling was not affected by constriction band use. Because constriction band use delayed venom absorption without causing increased swelling, it may prove to be a useful first aid measure in human beings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1086-1093
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Emergency Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1992



  • absorption
  • constriction band
  • venom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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