Background: Type-I-allergy to natural rubber latex (NRL) has been shown to be more prevalent among certain groups of patients. Children suffering from chronic renal failure (CRF) could be a suspected risk group because of their intense exposure to latex through catheters, gloves and anesthetic equipment during frequent hospitalizations from early life on. We investigated the prevalence of latex-sensitization among this group of patients and sought to identify risk factors.
Methods: Ninety-three patients (mean age 10.5 years) suffering from CRF were assessed by questionnaire-based history (details on renal disease, number and kind of surgical procedures, family and personal history of atopic diseases, allergic reactions to NRL, and the use of pacifiers) and by measurement of total and latex-specific serum immunoglobulin (Ig)E.
Results: Ten of 93 (10.8%) patients showed elevated latex-specific IgE-levels. One of 10 patients reported clinical symptoms to latex-allergen, but no allergic reactions to NRL during medical care were reported. Sensitized patients were significantly more likely to be atopic, reflected by a positive history of other allergies as well as elevated total serum IgE-levels, and had a significantly higher number of urogenital surgeries (P = 0.02 in all cases, Fisher's exact and Wilcoxon test, respectively).
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that children with CRF are at increased risk of latex-hypersensitivity. Significant associations with atopy and repeated surgeries were observed. Larger studies are required to elucidate whether these children are also at increased risk of anaphylaxis and therefore deserve preventive measures.