Adverse reactions to iodinated contrast media (ICM) are reported in 1%-3% of diagnostic procedures. They represent a relevant problem involving patients' safety as well as relevant costs for healthcare systems. Premedication with antihistamines and corticosteroids is still widely used, but evidence of its efficacy is lacking and there is a risk for under-estimation of possible severe adverse reactions to ICM in those who undergo premedication. Data from 98 patients with a previous reaction to ICM that consecutively referred to our unit between 2015 and 2018 were retrospectively analyzed. They underwent an allergologic workup comprehending skin tests and drug provocation tests (DPT) with ICM. The skin test showed a very high negative predictive value (NPV) compared to DPT in patients with a previous immediate adverse reaction, while the NPV in patients with a previous delayed adverse reaction was lower. After completion of the allergologic workup, 94 patients (95.9%) could tolerate a DPT with the culprit or alternative ICM. Subsequently, 90 patients were reached by phone to assess if they had been re-exposed to ICM for radiologic procedure. Thirty-nine patients had been re-exposed, without any premedication in 13 cases: 12 of them had tolerated the ICM, while one reacted again despite a negative DPT with the same ICM. Overall, the NPV of this protocol was elevated (92.3%) for patients undergoing DPT and subsequent exposure to the same ICM in a real-life setting. Collaboration between the prescribing physician, the radiologist and the allergist, and an accurate allergologic workup are essential to ensure maximum safety for the patient.
Contrast media; allergy; hypersensitivity; adverse reaction; premedication.