Anaphylaxis to Gelofusine confirmed by in vitro basophil activation test: a case series

Anaesthesia. 2006 Mar;61(3):264-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.2005.04529.x.


The plasma expander Gelofusine (succinylated gelatin) is a recognised cause of peri-operative anaphylaxis. Current diagnosis of Gelofusine sensitivity is by skin testing, a procedure that itself carries a risk of allergic reaction. We evaluated the reliability of the in vitro basophil activation test as a diagnostic assay for Gelofusine sensitivity in subjects with a clinical history highly suggestive of Gelofusine allergy. Six patients with peri-operative anaphylaxis clinically attributed to Gelofusine were skin tested to confirm sensitivity. Control subjects included three healthy subjects and five subjects allergic to a neuromuscular blocking drug, all negative on Gelofusine skin testing. Whole blood basophil activation to Gelofusine was analysed by flow cytometry for CD63 surface expression. All of the Gelofusine sensitive patients and one of the control allergic subjects showed positive basophil activation to Gelofusine. In this series of subjects, the basophil activation test for Gelofusine allergy had a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 87.5%. Our findings suggest that basophil activation testing is a safe and reliable in vitro assay for prediction or confirmation of Gelofusine sensitivity in patients with high clinical suspicion of Gelofusine-induced anaphylaxis.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anaphylaxis / diagnosis*
  • Anaphylaxis / etiology*
  • Antigens, CD / blood
  • Basophil Degranulation Test / methods
  • Basophils / immunology
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry / methods
  • Gelatin / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plasma Substitutes / adverse effects*
  • Platelet Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Skin Tests
  • Succinates / adverse effects*
  • Tetraspanin 30


  • Antigens, CD
  • CD63 protein, human
  • Plasma Substitutes
  • Platelet Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Succinates
  • Tetraspanin 30
  • succinylated gelatin
  • Gelatin