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Original Article


Type I Latex Allergy: A Follow-Up Study


J Azofra García

Department of Allergology, Hospital Central de Asturias, Oviedo, Spain

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2007; Vol. 17(3): 164-167



Background: There are several studies that deal with the evolution of patients with occupational rhinitis/asthma as a result of immunoglobulin (Ig) E-mediated allergy to latex. However, none have focused on the course of this illness in non-occupational settings.

Objective: To ascertain patient compliance in individuals diagnosed with latex allergy with respect to following avoidance measures, as well as to determine the frequency and type of symptoms that emerged as a result of exposure to latex when receiving healthcare (surgery, gynecology, dentistry), as well as other sources of exposure.

Methods: This is a retrospective study of patients diagnosed with allergy to latex in our department over 11 years. Of the 24 patients, we were able to contact 23 (96%). Twenty were female. Mean age at diagnosis was 36 years (10-67). Mean time of follow-up was 5 years (0.1-11). At the time of diagnosis, patients were informed of the need to avoid contact with latex, with special emphasis given to surgical, gynecological, and dental exposures.

Results: Regarding latex exposures in healthcare settings, 5 patients underwent surgery. Four notifi ed of their diagnosis, hence avoiding contact. The patient who failed to inform of his allergy developed laryngeal angioedema. Sixteen patients were exposed via gynecological examinations: Of these, 13 avoided contact with latex gloves and three tolerated them. Twenty patients were exposed to latex during visits to the dentist. Of these, 19 avoided latex and one tolerated it. A further 7 patients (30%) presented allergic syndromes caused by other sources of exposure. These included 4 episodes of contact-induced angioedema due to gloves and balloons and 4 episodes of bronchospasm as a result of being present in atmospheres with high latex contents – hospitals and rooms with balloons . Finally, 4 patients (17%) manifested allergic episodes induced by latex-related foods.

Conclusions: The vast majority of the patients diagnosed with latex allergy informed of their diagnosis when seeking medical care during which they would be exposed. However, 30% of the patients presented some kind of allergic episode due to another type of exposure and 17% presented allergies to related foods.

Key Words: Latex. IgE-mediated allergy. Follow-up.