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Anaphylaxis secondary to albumin infusion during posterior spinal fusion for pediatric scoliosis

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Study design

Case report.


To describe intraoperative administration of albumin as a cause of immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated anaphylaxis and cardiac arrest in an adolescent with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.


Albumin is considered the reference intraoperative colloidal solution, and is used commonly as a volume expander for treating hypovolemia. Albumin rarely causes an anaphylactic reaction, with a documented rate of only 0.099%.


An adolescent with scoliosis experienced acute, intraoperative hypotension during exposure for planned T5–L4 posterior spinal fusion shortly after infusion of albumin. She was treated rapidly and successfully with CPR and epinephrine.


Intraoperative transesophageal echocardiogram, chest radiograph, and serum histamine, serum tryptase, and urine N-methyl-histamine laboratory tests confirmed albumin anaphylaxis to be the etiology of the intraoperative event. Further postoperative complications were avoided as a result of the rapid diagnosis and treatment.


Although rare, IgE-mediated anaphylaxis to albumin, if administered, must be considered a possible cause of acute, intraoperative hypotension. Rapid management of anaphylaxis with communication between the surgeon, anesthesia team, and operative staff are essential if additional complications are to be avoided.

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Author information

Correspondence to Jeffrey E. Martus.

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BD (none), JPW (none), BE (none), JEM (none).

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Daniel, B., Wanner, J.P., Emerson, B. et al. Anaphylaxis secondary to albumin infusion during posterior spinal fusion for pediatric scoliosis. Spine Deform (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s43390-020-00027-2

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  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Albumin
  • Posterior spinal fusion
  • Pediatric