In light of the update of our first aid guidelines for sub-Saharan Africa we made a systematic review of the best available evidence for the treatment of snakebites, feasible by laypeople. Of the numerous first aid measures supported in literature and used in practice, we could only find evidence concerning effectiveness for the pressure immobilization technique on the spread of snake venom, which involves application of a firm pressure bandage on the bitten limb, together with immobilization of the limb. However, studies concerning its feasibility suggest this technique is difficult for laypeople to apply correctly. Keeping the limb immobilized on the other hand had a beneficial effect on the spread of the venom. Given the low to very low quality of the evidence, high quality trials concerning the effectiveness and feasibility of different variations of the pressure immobilization technique are needed.
This systematic review is now published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases!