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Intraoperative Anaphylaxis Secondary to Intraosseous Gelatin Administration

Luhmann, Scott J. MD*; Sucato, Daniel J. MD, MS; Bacharier, Leonard MD; Ellis, Alysa MD; Woerz, Cyndi MD

Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics: July/August 2013 - Volume 33 - Issue 5 - p e58–e60
doi: 10.1097/BPO.0b013e3182857d88

Background: FloSeal and SurgiFlo Hemostatic Matrices are commonly used in surgical procedures to promote coagulation and minimize blood loss. They are composed of bovine and porcine gelatin matrix, respectively, that can be injected into pedicles to stop osseous bleeding during pedicle screw insertion.

Methods: This report details 2 pediatric spinal deformity reconstructive surgery patients who experienced intraoperative cardiovascular events after the intraosseous administration of animal-derived gelatin.

Results: Case #1 is an 11-year-old female with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis who was undergoing routine posterior spinal instrumentation and fusion. During placement of the fourth pedicle screw, the patient developed profound hypotension, tachycardia, and elevated airway pressures requiring intravenous epinephrine and phenylephrine for hemodynamic support. Surgery was aborted. Postoperative work-up demonstrated a positive ImmunoCAP study for bovine gelatin. Surgery was repeated 1 week later, without the use of FloSeal, and no episodes of hemodynamic instability. Case #2 was a 9-year-old female with juvenile idiopathic scoliosis who was undergoing a growing spine construct. As in Case #1, SurgiFlo was placed into 2 pedicle tracts after which there was profound hypotension, tachycardia, and elevated airway pressures. Resuscitative efforts included intravenous atropine and epinephrine with resolution. Surgery was aborted. Surgery was repeated 2 weeks later, without the use of SurgiFlo, with no episodes of hemodynamic instability.

Conclusions: Given that the patient’s symptoms were classic for anaphylaxis, and that the timing of the anaphylaxis immediately followed the administration of FloSeal and SurgiFlo we believe that FloSeal and SurgiFlo were the causes of the reactions. These are the first known reported cases of intraoperative anaphylaxis associated with FloSeal and SurgiFlo. On the basis of our experience, in order to avoid intraoperative cardiovascular events, we obtain preoperative ImmunoCAP testing and eliciting a thorough preoperative history about bovine-derived and porcine-derived gelatin products.

Departments of *Orthopaedics

Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MI

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, Dallas, TX

None of the authors received financial support for this study.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Scott J. Luhmann, MD, Department of Orthopaedics, Washington University School of Medicine, One Children’s Place, Suite 4S60, St. Louis, MO 63110. E-mail:

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins