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Clinical Investigations: VENTILATORS |

Latex Allergy in Children on Home Mechanical Ventilation*

Craig T. Nakamura, MD; Ronald M. Ferdman, MD; Thomas G. Keens, MD; Sally L. Davidson Ward, MD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Divisions of Pediatric Pulmonology (Drs. Nakamura, Keens, and Ward) and Clinical Immunology and Allergy (Dr. Ferdman), Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.

Correspondence to: Sally L. Davidson Ward, MD, Division of Pediatric Pulmonology; Mailstop No. 83, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, 4650 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90027; e-mail: sward@chla.usc.edu



Chest. 2000;118(4):1000-1003. doi:10.1378/chest.118.4.1000
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Study objective: Determining the incidence of latex allergy in children receiving home mechanical ventilation.

Background: The prevalence of latex allergy in the general population ranges from 0.1 to 1.0%. However, in patients with spina bifida and other chronic medical conditions associated with repeated exposure to latex, the prevalence may be as high as 60%. Children receiving home mechanical ventilation are frequently exposed to latex products. Therefore, we hypothesized that these children would be at increased risk for latex allergy.

Design: Fifty-seven children receiving home mechanical ventilation (31 boys, 26 girls; mean[± SD] age, 7.8 ± 6.6 years; range, 0.3 to 23.2 years) were enrolled. A radioallergosorbent test (RAST) for latex was administered and serum IgE levels were obtained in all patients.

Results: Seventeen patients (29.8%) were found to have a positive RAST for latex. Patients with latex allergy had required mechanical ventilation for an average of 6.1 ± 4.1 years vs 5.5 ± 5.4 years (p = 0.69; not significant) in those without latex allergy. Eleven of 17 patients (64.7%) had elevated serum IgE levels in the group with latex allergy vs only 14 of 40 patients (35.0%) in the group with a negative latex RAST (p = 0.04; odds ratio, 3.4).

Conclusion: We conclude that there is a high incidence of latex allergy in children requiring home mechanical ventilation. We speculate that screening all children receiving home mechanical ventilation may lead to the identification of patients with previously undiagnosed latex allergy and the prevention of untoward reactions from exposure to latex.


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