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Anaphylaxis from the Product(s) of Ethylene Oxide Gas

J. POOTHULLIL, M.D.; A. SHIMIZU, M.D., F.R.C.P.(C); R. P. DAY, Ph.D.; and J. DOLOVICH, M.D., F.R.C.P.(C)
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: grant MA 3404, Medical Research Council of Canada, and grant PR 266, Ontario Department of Health; Dr Dolovich is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Science Award.

Presented in part at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Miami, Florida, 22 January 1974

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to J. Dolovich, M.D., Department of Pediatrics, Room 4H21, McMaster University Medical Centre, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


Ann Intern Med. 1975;82(1):58-60. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-82-1-58
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This report describes a patient who experienced typical systemic allergic reactions associated with hemodialysis and the use of a plastic and rubber connecting tube in an arteriovenous shunt. A buffer solution placed in a connecting tube sterilized with ethylene oxide gas elicited positive reactions to skin tests. The patient had no detectable sensitivity to other substances considered to potentially represent alternative sources of the reactions. Human serum albumin exposed to ethylene oxide gas induced positive reactions in the patient and the release of histamine from his leukocytes. Corresponding tests in two control subjects were negative. Preliminary flushing of his hemodialysis system reduced the severity of reactions, apparently by removal of the sensitizing substance(s). It was concluded that there was sensitization and anaphylaxis from exposure to a product(s) of ethylene oxide gas used in sterilization.

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