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A fatal adverse effect of cefazolin administration: severe brain edema in a patient with multiple meningiomas

Authors Tribuddharat S, Sathitkarnmanee T, Kitkhuandee A, Theerapongpakdee S, Ngamsangsirisup K, Chantawong S

Received 1 July 2015

Accepted for publication 18 December 2015

Published 9 February 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 9—12


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Chul Ahn

Sirirat Tribuddharat,1 Thepakorn Sathitkarnmanee,1 Amnat Kitkhuandee,2 Sunchai Theerapongpakdee,1 Kriangsak Ngamsaengsirisup,1 Sarinya Chanthawong,1

1Department of Anesthesiology, 2Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand

Cefazolin is commonly administered before surgery as a prophylactic antibiotic. Hypersensitivity to cefazolin is not uncommon, and the symptoms mostly include urticaria, skin reaction, diarrhea, vomiting, and transient neutropenia, which are rarely life threatening. We present a rare case of fatal cefazolin hypersensitivity in a female who was diagnosed with multiple meningiomas and scheduled for craniotomy and tumor removal. Immediately after cefazolin IV administration, the patient developed acute hypertensive crisis, which resolved within 10 minutes after the treatment. This was followed by unexplained metabolic acidosis. The patient then developed severe brain edema 100 minutes later. The patient had facial edema when her face was exposed for the next 30 minutes. A computed tomography scan revealed global brain edema with herniation. She was admitted to the intensive care unit for symptomatic treatment and died 10 days after surgery from multiorgan failure. The serum IgE level was very high (734 IU/mL). Single-dose administration of cefazolin for surgical prophylaxis may lead to rare, fatal adverse reaction. The warning signs are sudden, unexplained metabolic acidosis, hypertensive crisis, tachycardia, and facial angioedema predominating with or without cutaneous symptoms like urticaria.

cefazolin, adverse effect, drug hypersensitivity, brain edema, hypertension

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