Lebenbom-Mansour MH. Oesterle JR. Ownby DR. Jennett MK. Post SK. Zaglaniczy K., The incidence of latex sensitivity in ambulatory surgical patients: a correlation of historical factors with positive serum immunoglobin E levels. Anesth Analg 1998;86(4):919.
Increasing reports of latex-induced anaphylaxis make preoperative identification of latex-sensitive individuals an important concern. The incidence of latex sensitivity and the efficacy of questionnaires in identifying this in ambulatory surgical populations have not been determined. To clarify these issues, the authors studied 996 ambulatory surgical patients preoperatively. A questionnaire addressing demographic information, previous surgeries, history of atopy, previous exposure or reactions to latex, congenital abnormalities, and food allergies was administered. These data were then compared with serum anti-latex immunoglobin E (IgE) levels (AlaSTAT test), and risk factors, sensitivity, and specificity were determined. Of this population, 6.7% had IgE antibodies against latex (i.e., latex sensitivity). Male gender, non-Caucasian race, age, asthma, spinal cord abnormalities, food allergies, stated latex allergy, and symptoms when exposed to latex increased the risk of latex sensitivity. The specificity and positive predictive value of history were low. No systemic allergic reactions occurred, a finding that could be attributed to chance alone. The incidence of latex sensitivity in this population suggests that latex allergy is a significant potential problem in ambulatory surgical patients. History, however, does not appear to be a reliable predictor of the presence of anti-latex antibodies.