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Eur J Pediatr Surg. 1994 Apr;4(2):90-3.

High risk of sensitization to latex in children with spina bifida.

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  • 1Service de Médecine D, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nancy, Hôpitaux de Brabois-Hôpital d'Adultes, Nancy-Vandoeuvre, France.


The risk of per-operative anaphylactic shock in response to latex is established in children with spina bifida. This study focuses on 30 children with spina bifida and aims at evaluating the value of predictive tests (skin tests and RAST). No patient had shown a preoperative accident. Hypersensitivity to latex, sometimes suspected by questioning of the patient, was detected 12 times out of 30 (40%). 10 children of the 12 were atopic (83%). The incidence of atopy is significantly higher than that of the general pediatric population (14 out of 30; 46%). This study demonstrates the frequency of the latent hypersensitivity to latex and the subsequent potential risk of per-operative anaphylactic shock. This sensitization can be partly explained by multiple contacts with latex; urinary catheterization several times a day, daily use of latex gloves for routine care, repetitive surgery (more than 8 operations per child). However, atopy increases the risk of sensitization to latex. The authors underline the importance of taking preventive measures for these children such as the use of PVC, silicone or polyurethane catheters and of synthetic rubber. Hypoallergenic gloves are under investigation. A questionnaire and systematic preventive cutaneous assessment before each operation are strongly advised.

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