A randomized controlled trial of fresh frozen plasma for coagulopathy in Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii) envenoming

Isbister, G.K., Jayamanne, S., Mohamed, F., Dawson, A.H., Maduwage, K., Gawarammana, I., Lalloo, D.G., Silva, H.J., Scorgie, F.E., Lincz, L.F. and Buckley, N.A., 2017. A randomized controlled trial of fresh frozen plasma for coagulopathy in Russell's viper (Daboia russelii) envenoming. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.


Background: Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii) envenoming is a major health issue in South Asia and causes venom induced consumption coagulopathy (VICC).
Objectives: We investigated the effect of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) and two antivenom doses in correcting VICC.
Methods: We undertook an open-label randomized controlled trial in patients with VICC at two Sri Lankan hospitals. Patients with suspected Russell’s viper bites and coagulopathy were randomly allocated (1:1) high-dose antivenom (20 vials) or low-dose antivenom (10 vials) plus 4U FFP. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients with an international normalized ratio (INR)<2, 6h post-antivenom. Secondary outcomes included anaphylaxis, major haemorrhage, death and clotting factor recovery.
Results: From 214 eligible patients, 141 were randomized; 71 to high-dose antivenom, 70 to low-dose antivenom/FFP; five had no post-antivenom bloods. The groups were similar except for a delay of 1h in antivenom administration for FFP patients. 6h post-antivenom 23/69 (33%) patients allocated high-dose antivenom had an INR<2 compared with 28/67 (42%) allocated low-dose antivenom/FFP [absolute difference 8%;95%Confidence Interval:-8% to 25%]. 15 patients allocated FFP did not receive it. Severe anaphylaxis occurred equally frequently in each group. One patient given FFP developed transfusion related acute lung injury. Three deaths occurred in low-dose/FFP patients including one intracranial haemorrhage. There was no difference in recovery rates of INR or fibrinogen, but more rapid initial recovery of factor V and X in FFP patients.
Conclusion: FFP post-antivenom in Russell’s viper bites didn’t hasten recovery of coagulopathy. Low-dose antivenom/FFP did not worsen VICC, suggesting low-dose antivenom is sufficient.
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