Intraoperative recurrence of probable allergic reaction to remifentanil. Case report

  • Fernando Aguilera-Castro a. Universidad El Bosque, Bogotá, D. C., Colombia. b. Hospital Simón Bolívar, Bogotá, D. C., Colombia
Keywords: Anaphylaxis, Balanced anesthesia, Drug hypersensitivity, Analgesics opioid, Anesthesia general


Introduction: Although rare, intraoperative anaphylaxis may be life-threatening. Opioids, including remifentanil, have the lowest rates of association with allergic reactions during anaesthesia. Recurrence of anaphylactic reaction after continuation of a remifentanil infusion creates the suspicion of a causal relationship between this agent and the reaction.

Case description. Case presentation of anaphylactic reaction during balanced anaesthesia in a 19 year-old female patient. At the start of the surgical procedure, the patient developed refractory hypotension and generalized erythema, which responded to vasopressors, antihistamines and the discontinuation of the anaesthetic agents. The remifentanil infusion was reinitiated later in response to the need of increasing the depth of the anaesthesia, and the anaphylactic reaction recurred.

Conclusion: Any medication or potential allergen to which a patient is exposed during the perioperative period may cause anaphylaxis; the usual culprits are neuromuscular blocking agents (NMBA). In 80% of cases of hypersensitivity to medications, the origin is not immunological; the only way to confirm anaphylaxis is by means of biological and skin testing performed in a unit specializing in allergy and anaesthesia. In this case, confirmation was not possible because, in Colombia, the specific technological and biological resources are lacking.


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How to Cite
Aguilera-Castro F. Intraoperative recurrence of probable allergic reaction to remifentanil. Case report. Colomb. J. Anesthesiol. [Internet]. 2017Apr.1 [cited 2022May20];45(Supplement):31 -35. Available from:


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How to Cite
Aguilera-Castro F. Intraoperative recurrence of probable allergic reaction to remifentanil. Case report. Colomb. J. Anesthesiol. [Internet]. 2017Apr.1 [cited 2022May20];45(Supplement):31 -35. Available from:
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