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Case Report of Latex Aerosolization from a Transesophageal Echocardiogram Machine

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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.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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