Allergic reactions following contrast material administration: nomenclature, classification, and mechanisms

Palmiere, Cristian ; Comment, Lionel ; Mangin, Patrice

In: International Journal of Legal Medicine, 2014, vol. 128, no. 1, p. 95-103

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    In forensic pathology routine, fatal cases of contrast agent exposure can be occasionally encountered. In such situations, beyond the difficulties inherent in establishing the cause of death due to nonspecific or absent autopsy and histology findings as well as limited laboratory investigations, pathologists may face other problems in formulating exhaustive, complete reports, and conclusions that are scientifically accurate. Indeed, terminology concerning adverse drug reactions and allergy nomenclature is confusing. Some terms, still utilized in forensic and radiological reports, are outdated and should be avoided. Additionally, not all forensic pathologists master contrast material classification and pathogenesis of contrast agent reactions. We present a review of the literature covering allergic reactions to contrast material exposure in order to update used terminology, explain the pathophysiology, and list currently available laboratory investigations for diagnosis in the forensic setting.