Hump-nosed viper bite, the commonest venomous snake bite in Sri Lanka, is associated with significant morbidity. Specific anti-venom is not available for hump-nosed viper envenomation which is usually managed with supportive treatment. Pulmonary haemorrhage is an unusual manifestation of hump-nosed viper bite. Here we present a case of hump-nosed viper envenomation which complicated by pulmonary haemorrhage and was successfully treated with systemic steroids. To the best of our knowledge, it has not been reported in the literature before.
A previously healthy 55-year-old man presented to the local hospital 18 h after a hump-nosed viper bite. He developed bilateral severe pulmonary haemorrhages, evidenced by rapid desaturation which needed intubation and mechanical ventilation, bleeding from the endotracheal tube and bilateral alveolar shadows in a chest x-ray. He had no other bleeding manifestations. Because of the life-threatening situation, he was treated with methylprednisolone pulse therapy. There was a rapid improvement of hypoxia with a resolution of x-ray changes. He was successfully weaned off from the ventilation after 24 h.
This case highlights the importance of suspecting pulmonary haemorrhage in a patient who develops desaturation and alveolar shadow following hump-nosed viper bite even in the absence of other bleeding manifestation. Early and timely treatment with systemic steroid can be lifesaving in such patients.