Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
We investigated a female population prior to general anaesthesia, using skin prick tests with latex and muscle relaxants to appraise the validity and feasibility of a systematic preoperative screening for these substances. Anaesthetists performed skin tests, and positive and doubtful tests were checked in our allergy department. Of 114 patients, 42 had uninterpretable tests because of dermographism (28 patients) or suppression of skin reactivity (14 patients). Among the other 72, nine had a positive or doubtful test to latex, and seven a positive or doubtful test to one or more muscle relaxants. After checking, only four sensitizations to latex and one to muscle relaxant were confirmed. In conclusion, a systematic screening for latex and muscle relaxant allergy is not advisable. In contrast, screening for latex allergy in selected high-risk groups (spina bifida, health-care workers) is necessary.
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