Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1997 Mar-Apr;91(2):186-90.
An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was developed to measure venom antigen levels in the serum of 40 patients bitten by Bothrops lanceolatus. The grading system used for the severity of envenomation (grades 1 to 4, minor to major) was predominantly based on the presence of local signs. Serum venom levels increased with the grade of severity (P < 0.001, by Spearman’s rank correlation test); they were 6 +/- 6 ng/mL (mean +/- SD) in clinically non-envenomed patients (grade 1, n = 3), 7.6 +/- 11.7 (n = 17), 44.3 +/- 41.8 (n = 17), and 80.3 +/- 34.1 ng/mL (n = 3) in patients diagnosed as grade 2, 3 and 4 respectively. However, venom antigens could not be detected in the serum of 54% of patients who showed clinical signs of envenomation. Most patients diagnosed as grade 2, 3 or 4 were given 20, 40 and 60 mL of a monospecific F(ab’)2 antivenom, respectively. Venom concentrations > or = 15 ng/mL were observed in all patients with progressive aggravation of swelling despite the use of early antivenom therapy. No venom was detectable in blood samples taken after completion of serotherapy. All patients recovered. These results confirm the efficacy of both the clinical severity scoring system used and the therapeutic regimen.