Incidence of intraoperative hypersensitivity reactions: A registry analysis

Leif Saager, Alparslan Turan, Cameron Egan, Edward J. Mascha, Andrea Kurz, Maria Bauer, Hervé Besson, Daniel I. Sessler, Brian D. Hesler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Previously reported incidences for intraoperative hypersensitivity reactions vary more than 15-fold. The goal was to determine the incidence of intraoperative hypersensitivity events at a U.S. surgical center. Methods: With institutional review board (Cleveland, Ohio) approval and waiver of written/informed consent, the anesthesia records of adult patients undergoing noncardiac surgery from 2005 to 2011 at the Cleveland Clinic were queried using a novel electronic search protocol developed to identify potential hypersensitivity reactions: cardiovascular collapse defined as systolic arterial blood pressure less than 50 mmHg; administration of epinephrine; administration of diphenhydramine; physician comments in the anesthesia record suggestive of hypersensitivity reactions; laboratory tests for histamine, tryptase, or immunoglobulin-E within 24 h of surgery; and International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, codes suggestive of hypersensitivity reactions. Each electronically identified candidate chart was evaluated by an adjudication committee. Hypersensitivity reactions were graded on a 5-point severity scale. From these data, the authors determined the proportion of operations having adjudicated hypersensitivity reactions, and calculated the 95% exact binomial CI. Results: Among 178,746 records, 4,008 charts were identified by the search strategies. After adjudication, 264 hypersensitivity cases were identified. The overall incidence of hypersensitivity reactions was 1:677 surgeries, corresponding to 15 (95% CI, 13 to 17) cases per 10,000 operations. The incidence of severe hypersensitivity reactions (grades 3 to 5) was 1:4,583, corresponding to 2 (95% CI, 2 to 3) cases per 10,000 operations. Conclusions: The incidence of severe hypersensitivity reactions was similar to previous reports. However, the overall incidence of hypersensitivity reactions was much greater than reported elsewhere, possibly because of a comprehensive search strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-559
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 4 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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