Latex allergy: An update for the otolaryngologist

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11 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe the clinical manifestations of latex allergy in otolaryngology patients. Design: Descriptive case series. Setting: Tertiary academic otolaryngology practice. Patients: Otolaryngology patients with documented allergic reactions to latex during surgery and confirmatory laboratory test results for latex allergy. Main Outcome Measures: Clinical description of latex reactions; identification of risk factors for latex allergy. Results: We describe 3 patients, 2 children and 1 young adult, with severe latex allergy manifested by intraoperative cardiorespiratory changes and confirmed by positive latex-specific IgE test results. A 9-year-old boy with a tracheotomy and a history of multiple procedures for laryngeal stenosis developed a rash and unexplained bronchospasm during an open laryngeal procedure. Surgery was aborted, and subsequent surgery was performed uneventfully 4 weeks later using a latex-safe environment. A 13-year-old boy with recurrent respiratory papillomatosis and a ventriculoperitoneal shunt had sudden unexplained arterial oxygen desaturation and a rash during laser endoscopy. He was then treated successfully using latex-safe protocols. A 23-year-old man with a parotid malignancy developed unexplained hypotension and ventilatory difficulties in the operating room during preparation for surgery. He responded to medical treatment for anaphylaxis. Conclusion: The otolaryngologist should share in the increased awareness of latex allergy. Our patients who have had multiple surgical procedures or who are exposed to latex on a long-term basis may be at increased risk. Latex allergy should be considered when unexplained cardiorespiratory compromise occurs during surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-446
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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