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Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2011 Mar;50(3):252-8. doi: 10.1177/0009922810388510.

Complications and outcomes of brown recluse spider bites in children.

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Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72202, USA.


Brown recluse spider bites may cause severe local and systemic morbidity, but data regarding morbidity in children are limited. This study reviewed inpatient medical records (n = 26; 10 years) with a discharge diagnosis of "spider bite" from a tertiary pediatric hospital. The majority (85%) of children had an inflammatory response accompanying necrosis, usually with signs of secondary cellulitis (77%). Hemolytic anemia (50%), rhabdomyolysis (27%), and acute renal failure (12%) were the most prevalent systemic effects. Hemolytic anemia was bimodal in distribution relative to the time-of-onset of the bite (early, 2.2 ± 0.4; late, 6.9 ± 1.5 days postbite, respectively; P = .004). Although no fatalities occurred in the population, 65% of children had major morbidity, including wound complications requiring surgical care and acute orbital compartment syndrome. The findings emphasize the importance of anticipatory patient/family education for outpatients and careful monitoring for systemic morbidity in inpatients. Timely and appropriate supportive care should yield favorable outcomes in most cases.

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