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brown spider, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, nonhealing wounds, recluse spider



  1. Hadanny, Amir MD
  2. Fishlev, Gregory MD
  3. Bechor, Yair BA
  4. Meir, Oshra BA
  5. Efrati, Shai MD


BACKGROUND: Bites by Loxosceles spiders (also known as recluse spiders or brown spiders) can cause necrotic ulcerations of various sizes and dimensions. The current standard of care for brown spider bites includes analgesics, ice, compression, elevation, antihistamines, and surgical debridement. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in the treatment of brown spider bites has been administered in the early stage of ulceration, or 2 to 6 days after the bite. Unfortunately, the diagnosis of spider bite-related ulcers is often delayed and weeks or months may elapse before HBOT is considered.


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of HBOT on nonhealing wounds caused by brown spider bites in the late, chronic, nonhealing stage.


METHODS: Analysis of 3 patients with brown spider-bite healing wounds treated at The Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research in Israel. Patients presented 2 to 3 months after failure of other therapies including topical dressings, antibiotics, and corticosteroids. All patients were treated with daily 2 ATA (atmospheres absolute) with 100% oxygen HBOT sessions.


RESULTS: All 3 patients were previously healthy without any chronic disease. Their ages were 30, 42, and 73 years. They were treated once daily for 13, 17, and 31 sessions, respectively. The wounds of all 3 patients healed, and there was no need for additional surgical intervention. There were no significant adverse events in any of the patients.


CONCLUSIONS: Microvascular injury related to brown spider bites may culminate in ischemic nonhealing wounds even in a relatively young, healthy population. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy should be considered as a valuable therapeutic tool even months after the bite.