Utility of basophil activation testing to assess perioperative anaphylactic reactions in real-world practice

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Introduction: Perioperative anaphylactic reactions due to drugs and substances associated with general anesthesia can potentially be life-threatening. The objective of this study was to investigate the significance of the basophil activation test (BAT) for allergy diagnosis work up. Methods: A total of 14 patients (5 men, 9 women; mean age: 57.8 years) with clinical records of anaphylactic reactions under general anesthesia were studied by means of anesthesia records, skin and serological tests. Eleven healthy subjects without any history of allergic sensitization to anaesthetic drugs served as controls. BATs based on stimulation of whole blood cells measuring CD63 activation of basophils and using CCR3 as basophil marker by flow cytometry (Flow CAST®, BÜHLMANN Laboratories AG, Schönenbuch, Switzerland) were performed with the following substances (in dependence on the history and the skin tests of the patient): analgesics (acetylsalicylic acid, celecoxib, diclofenac, ibuprofen, indometacin, metamizole, paracetamol, propyphenazone, tramadol), antibiotics (PPL (benzylpenicilloyl polylysine), MDM (minor determinant mixture), amoxicillin, cefuroxime, ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, erythromycin, roxithromycin, sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim), local anesthetics (articaine, bupivacaine, lidocaine, prilocaine, procaine, methyl-4-hydroxybenzoate), narcotics and NMBA (atracurium, cisatracurium, etomidate, neostigmine, midazolam, mivacurium, pancuronium, propofol, pyridostigmine, succinylcholine, sufentanil, thiopental, vecuronium), and other individual substances. Results: Three patients showed positive results in the BAT:One tometamizole, one to PPL, and one to pancuronium. BATs with these substances were negative in controls. Conclusions: The BAT should be used complementary to skin tests, especially if IgE-mediated mechanisms are presumed and skin tests are inconclusive. A positive reaction in BAT identifies the culprit agent with high probability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-420
Number of pages5
JournalImmunity, Inflammation and Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • Basophil activation test
  • Drug allergy
  • Perioperative anaphylaxis


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