Probable allergic reaction to Spongostan

The incident included urticaria and itch, and mild swelling in the pharynx and uvula. The foam was used to stop bleeding following a dental extraction. An allergy to gelatin had been recorded in the patient pre-anaesthetic assessment.

In the current literature, anaphylaxis related to Gelfoam or other gelatin-based hemostatic sponges is exceedingly rare, with only a handful of reported cases.

Gelatin allergy is seen in association with red meat allergy (bovine or porcine collagen is normally the source of the gelatin). However it is possible to be allergic to gelatin but not red meat, or to have recovered from a red meat allergy and remain allergic to collagen.

Gelatin is contained in many medical products including Haemaccel, Gelofusine and the coating of many oral medications. Gelfoam, SurgiFlo and FloSeal also contain gelatin and are used widely in laparoscopic surgical practice and neurosurgical practice.

Practitioners are reminded to cross-check for allergies before using any medical product.
Mullins RJ, James H, Platts-Mills TA, Commins S. Relationship between red meat allergy and sensitization to gelatin and galactose-α-1,3-galactose. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012 May;129(5):1334-1342.e1.
Land MH, Piehl MD, Burks AW. Near fatal anaphylaxis from orally administered gelatin capsule. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2013 Jan;1(1):99-100.

Last updated 15:34 28.04.2021