Prevention of allergic-like reactions at repeat CT: Steroid pretreatment versus contrast material substitution

Jennifer S. McDonald, Nicholas B. Larson, Amy B. Kolbe, Christopher H. Hunt, John J. Schmitz, Daniel E. Maddox, Robert P. Hartman, David F. Kallmes, Robert J. McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: It is unclear whether steroid premedication is an effective means of preventing repeat allergic-like reactions in high-risk patients with a previous allergic-like reaction to iodinated contrast material (ICM). Purpose: To compare the effectiveness of ICM substitution (ie, using iohexol in a patient with a previous iopromide reaction) with 12- and 2-hour steroid premedication for preventing repeat acute allergic-like reactions in high-risk patients. Materials and Methods: This retrospective study identified all high-risk (ie, having a previous allergic-like reaction) adult and pediatric patients who underwent a contrast-enhanced CT examination at the institution from June 1, 2009, to May 9, 2017. Prophylactic treatments and repeat reactions were identified using chart review. The effectiveness of prophylactic treatments on repeat reaction rates was examined with multivariable regression models that used generalized estimating equations. Results: A total of 1973 high-risk patients who underwent 4360 subsequent ICM-enhanced CT examinations were included. Of the 4360 examinations, a total of 280 allergic-like reactions occurred (6%) in 224 of the 1973 patients (11% of patients), with only 19 of 280 reactions (7%) that were more severe than the previous reaction being demonstrated. After adjustment, patients who received a different ICM with and without steroid premedication had a significantly lower rate of repeat reactions than did patients who received steroid premedication and the same ICM (same ICM and steroid premedication: 80 of 423 examinations [19%]; different ICM and no steroid premedication: 10 of 322 examinations [3%]; odds ratio [OR], 0.14 [95% CI: 0.06, 0.33]; P <.001; different ICM and steroid premedication: five of 166 patients [3%]; OR, 0.12 [95% CI: 0.04, 0.36]; P <.001). When examining the first scan only, patients who received the same ICM had a similar risk of repeat reactions regardless of whether they received steroid premedication (steroid premedication: 44 of 172 patients [26%] vs no premedication: 73 of 298 patients [25%]; OR, 1.00 [95% CI: 0.64, 1.57]; P =.99). Conclusion: In this cohort, using an iodinated contrast material (ICM) substitution was more effective for preventing repeat allergic-like reactions than using steroid premedication and the same ICM that caused the previous reaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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