Sep 13, 2015

Chlorhexidine-induced anaphylaxis in surgical patients: a review of the literature

ANZ Journal of Surgery
Gary SharpMichael Rose


Chlorhexidine (CHL) has antiseptic and disinfectant properties used to prevent hospital-acquired infections. CHL-induced anaphylaxis is poorly reported in surgical literature despite government warnings and growing recognition. The aim of this review is to increase awareness of CHL-induced anaphylaxis in the surgical population. Literature review of Embase, Medline, PubMed and the Cochrane library using 'anaphylaxis (and) chlorhexidine' search terms. Thirty-six articles were published on surgical patients suffering anaphylaxis to CHL. Within these, seven patients had two proven separate anaphylactic reactions and one had three separate proven anaphylactic reactions. The most commonly affected speciality was urology. The majority occurred during elective procedures. A history of atopy was surprisingly uncommon as was bronchospasm. Six patients required active chest compressions and 39.71% of patients had their surgical procedure abandoned. Unplanned intensive care admissions occurred in 27.94%. In order to reduce abandoned procedures, unplanned intensive care unit admissions, morbidity and mortality associated with CHL-induced anaphylaxis we recommend the following: rationalization of CHL-containing products, greater vigilance r...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Morbidity Aspects
Anaphylaxis (Non Medication)
Elective Procedure
Bronchial Spasm
Chelating Agents
Anti-Infective Agents, Local
Anterior Thoracic Region

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Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death.

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