Case Report of Latex Aerosolization from a Transesophageal Echocardiogram Machine
Aerosolized natural rubber latex proteins produce latex sensitization and can cause acute allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. The objective of this study is to describe measures that should be taken to ensure a latex-safe hospital environment. A case of latex-induced anaphylaxis prompted a survey of air quality in acute care areas of a major tertiary health care center that had eliminated the use of powder-free latex gloves years earlier. Six air samples were collected using pre- and postcalibrated sampling pumps operating at 2.7 L/minute. Samples were collected in duplicate on three-piece 37-mm Teflon filters in open-faced cassettes and tested for latex allergen by inhibition immunoassay. All samples had less than the detection limit > 5 ng/m3 for aerosolized latex except for the echocardiogram suite where the transesophageal echocardiogram machine was located. After thorough cleaning of the suite and echocardiogram machine, subsequent air sampling showed no detectable latex aerosolization particles. Follow-up investigation to discover the source of contamination revealed that the department performing routine maintenance on the echocardiogram equipment used powdered latex gloves obtained outside the hospital. Employees who are latex allergic may experience symptoms even in an environment of powder-free, nonlatex gloves. The site was a contaminated transesophageal echocardiogram machine. Institutional policies should be in place to monitor employee complaints and address allergic reactions to latex.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2004-05-01
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