Aug 1, 1997

Two cases of anaphylactic shock induced by chlorhexidine

Masui. The Japanese journal of anesthesiology
S FujitaA Namiki


We reported two patients who developed skin eruptions and severe hypotension immediately after scrubbing their wound in the leg using 4% chlorhexidine solution. Both patients were successfully treated by epinephrine administration. Patient-1 (a 42-year-old man) had his wound scrubbed using this antiseptic several times before the operation. He showed a positive skin scratch test for chlorhexidine. Patient-2 (a 74-year-old man) had no prior treatment with chlorhexidine. Positive lymphocyte transformation test was not demonstrated in these patients. It has been reported that more than 10% of patients with anaphylactic shock induced by chlorhexidine use had previous exposure to it and 80% of them had it used for mucosa or wound washing. From these results, we should keep it in mind that chlorhexidine is not likely to be a safe antiseptic and can possibly induce anaphylactic shock.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Anti-Infective Agents, Local
Epinephrine Measurement
Hypotension Adverse Event
Antiseptic [EPC]

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