Hypersensitivity to total parenteral nutrition fat-emulsion component in an egg-allergic child

Michael Lunn, Tracy Fausnight

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated food allergies affect 6% to 8% of children in the United States with symptoms ranging from localized hives to life-threatening anaphylaxis. Intravenous fat emulsions (IFEs) are a vital component of total parental nutrition, because they provide essential fatty acids. IFE is a sterile fat emulsion that contains egg-yolk phospholipids. Although egg allergy is listed as a contraindication, adverse reactions are uncommon. We report here the case of a hypersensitivity to IFE in a 2-year-old patient with previously undocumented egg allergy. Our patient was placed on total parental nutrition and a 20% IFE postoperatively and developed diffuse pruritus 14 days after initiation of therapy. She showed transient improvement with intravenous antihistamine, but her symptoms did not resolve until the IFE was stopped. On the basis of clinical history, including aversion to egg, we performed skin-prick testing, the results of which were positive for egg white allergy. Serum testing confirmed allergy to both egg yolk and egg white. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of a pediatric patient with a history suggestive of egg allergy, positive skin-prick and serum testing to egg, and reaction to IFE infusion. Although ingestion of egg lecithin in cooked food is generally tolerated by egg-allergic people, administration of intravenous egg-containing lipid emulsions may cause significant adverse reactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1025-e1028
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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