Performance of the 20-minute whole blood clotting test in detecting venom induced consumption coagulopathy from Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii) bites.

I. Ratnayake (1), F. Shihana (1), D. M. Dissanayake (1, 2), N. A. Buckley (1, 3), K. Maduwage (4, 5), G. K. Isbister (1, 4) (1) South Asian Clinical Toxicology Research Collaboration (SACTRC), Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka; (2) Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka; (3) Clinical Pharmacology, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; (4) Clinical Toxicology Research Group, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia; (5) Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka


The 20-minute whole blood clotting test (WBCT20) is used as a bedside diagnostic test for coagulopathic snake envenoming. We aimed to assess the performance of the WBCT20 in diagnosis of venom induced consumption coagulopathy (VICC) in Russell’s viper envenoming. Adult patients admitted with suspected snake bites were recruited from two hospitals. WBCT20 and prothrombin time (PT) test were performed on admission. WBCT20 was done by trained clinical research assistants using 1 ml whole blood in a 5 ml borosilicate glass tube with a 10 mm internal diameter. The PT was measured by a semi-automated coagulation system and international normalised ratio (INR) calculated. VICC was defined as present if the INR was >1.4. The diagnostic utility of WBCT20 was determined by calculating the sensitivity and specificity of the WBCT20 on admission for detecting VICC. There were 987 snake bites where both WBCT20 and PT were done on admission samples. This included 79 patients (8 %) with VICC. The WBCT20 was positive in 65/79 patients with VICC (sensitivity 82 %; 95 % confidence interval [CI]: 72-90 %) and was falsely positive in 13/908 with no coagulopathy. The WBCT20 was negative in 895/908 snake bites with no coagulopathy (specificity: 98 % 95 % CI: 97-99 %) and was falsely negative in 14/79 with VICC. Using trained clinical staff, the WBCT20 test had a relatively good sensitivity for the detection of VICC, but still missed almost one fifth of cases where antivenom was potentially indicated.

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