The American College of Medical Toxicology Creates the North American Snakebite Registry

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The American College of Medical Toxicology has launched a national registry of patients with snakebite, with the goals of advancing our understanding of how venoms affect the human body and improving our ability to manage the effects of envenomation.

American College of Medical Toxicology

...hundreds of people are hospitalized and experience prolonged disability as a result of their bites.

ACMT has launched the North American Snakebite Registry in order to create opportunities for collaborative research and education among physicians with expertise in the diagnosis and management of snake envenomation. Bites by venomous snakes affect up to 10,000 people in the United States each year. The snakes responsible for the vast majority of envenomations are the pit vipers, which include copperheads, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes. Rattlesnakes typically cause the most severe illness. Though fewer than ten deaths from snakebite are reported annually in the US, hundreds of people are hospitalized and experience prolonged disability as a result of their bites. Factors that may influence the severity and outcome of a patient with an envenomation, such as co-existing illness, medications, and specific treatments administered are poorly understood.

The ultimate goal of the Registry is to improve the care of envenomed patients. The Registry provides clinicians the opportunity to contribute appropriate details of snakebite cases allowing the national community of medical toxicology specialists to identify patterns of envenomation that predict severity, response to antivenom treatment, and long-term complications. According to Dr. Paul Wax, the executive director of ACMT, “Snakebite is relatively rare and remains a poorly understood condition. This registry will allow clinicians who treat patients with snakebite to learn from their shared experience and will ultimately advance our ability to treat patients.”

The Snakebite Registry is a project of the Toxicology Investigators Consortium (ToxIC), which was created in 2009 by ACMT to advance the accumulation and dissemination of knowledge of medical aspects of human poisoning. Data that is collected includes the clinical syndromes associated with various poisons and venoms and the treatments used to care for poisoned and envenomed patients. The ToxIC Registry, the database that houses the particulars of the cases, has since grown dramatically and now provides a valuable reservoir of information on a wide variety of poisonings. The data held in the Registry is secure, and is de-identified so that no link can be made back to individual patients.

The American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) is a professional, nonprofit association of physicians with recognized expertise in medical toxicology. The College is dedicated to advancing the science and practice of medical toxicology.

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