Experimental Cardiac Toxicity Induced by the Injection of Uracoan Rattlesnake (Crotalus vegrandis) and the Black Rattlesnake (Crotalus pifanorum) Venoms

*Corresponding author: Diana Colombet, Roger Rivas-Calero, Leiser Salcedo, Manuel Riera, Alexander Mogollón, José Mendoza, Alexis Rodríguez-Acosta and Héctor Rodríguez-Angulo*

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original research


Snakebite is a collective health problem that afflicts areas with poor healthcare coverage. Venezuela has an important population of snakes, including the endemic species Crotalus vegrandis and Crotalus pifanorum, whose venom has not been fully characterized, especially of those aspects related to cardiac electrophysiology.
In this sense, this work aims to characterize the electrocardiographic and histopathological effect of crude venom of C. vegrandis and C. pifanorum on albino Naval Medical Research Institute (NMRI) mice.
For this, mice were gathered in C. pifanorum and C. vegrandis experimental groups, including normal controls and envenomed mice injected with commercial antivenom. C. vegrandis venom showed a significant T and S wave flattening and pulmonic (pulmonary) regurgitation (PR) enlargement, in addition to atrial ectopic activity, notched R wave, triggered activity, and T wave inversion. C. pifanorum was the only group that registered triggered activity. Antivenom was able to revert conduction disorders showing a statistical increase in arrhythmogenic compared by χ2. The multidimensional comparison confirmed the statistical differences between C. vegrandis and C. pifanorum venoms and between antivenom vs non-antivenom groups, detecting variables associated with cardiac conduction, as the most important variables.
In conclusion, this work demonstrated, as far as we know, for the first time the cardiotoxic effects associated with C. vegrandis and C. pifanorum venom injection, subsequently suggesting the duty of including an electrocardiogram in the consultation of any accident caused by these species.
Snake; Toxicity; Arrhythmias.