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Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2014 Jan-Feb;42(1):44-9. doi: 10.1016/j.aller.2012.08.001. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

Immediate hypersensitivity to chlorhexidine is increasingly recognised in the United Kingdom.

Author information

1
Department of Immunology, Hull Royal Infirmary, Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Hospital Trust, UK.
2
Allergy Clinic, Liverpool Royal and Broadgreen University NHS Trust Hospital, UK.
3
Department of Immunology, Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UK.
4
Department of Immunology, Hull Royal Infirmary, Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Hospital Trust, UK. Electronic address: abuzakm@gmail.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Chlorhexidine is widely used as an antiseptic agent. It is a potentially allergenic substance that can cause severe hypersensitivity reactions.

OBJECTIVE:

We describe six patients who had anaphylactic reactions attributed to chlorhexidine during surgery. These patients were exposed to chlorhexidine in gels, swabs and catheters.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Six patients from three UK centres with clinical history suggestive of anaphylaxis during surgery are reported. Detailed history, review of case notes, determination of chlorhexidine specific IgE, mast cell tryptase and skin tests were performed.

RESULTS:

On detailed assessment five of six patients demonstrated a previous history of reactions on re-exposure to chlorhexidine. All six patients had elevated specific IgE to chlorhexidine. Skin prick test with chlorhexidine was performed in four of the six patients and was found to be positive.

CONCLUSION:

Immediate hypersensitivity to chlorhexidine appears to be common but underreported in the UK. We recommend that centres investigating patients with reactions during anaesthesia and surgery should routinely include testing for chlorhexidine allergy.

KEYWORDS:

Anaphylaxis; Chlorhexidine; Mast cell tryptase; Specific IgE

PMID:
23265264
DOI:
10.1016/j.aller.2012.08.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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