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    Alpha-gal allergy, also known as red meat allergy or alpha-gal syndrome, can present after bites of certain tick species that contain galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (alpha-gal) carbohydrate. Following this exposure, patients may develop an allergic reaction after mammalian meat consumption. Some heparin products are derived from porcine intestinal tissue, and it is therefore possible that administering these medications to a patient with an alpha-gal allergy may trigger a reaction. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the incidence of reactions to porcine heparin products in patients with an alpha-gal allergy. A retrospective case series was conducted by review of electronic medical record data. Patients included were between the ages of 18 and 89 years, with a documented alpha-gal or red meat allergy and an admission to a hospital in the Sentara Healthcare system. The primary outcome was the incidence of allergic reactions upon exposure to heparin products in patients with a documented alpha-gal allergy. Patients with a documented alpha-gal allergy received a heparin product in 57 of 158 hospital visits (36.1%). Heparin products were tolerated in 56 of the 57 visits (98.3%). The incidence of an alpha-gal reaction to unfractionated heparin was 2.6% (1/39) while the incidence of an alpha-gal reaction to enoxaparin was 0% (0/22). Heparin products were associated with a low incidence of alpha-gal reactions among patients with documented alpha-gal allergy. It is possible that enoxaparin poses less of a risk for reaction in these patients compared to unfractionated heparin. Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier GmbH.


    Ugochi Nwamara, Marcus C Kaplan, Niel Mason, Amanda I Ingemi. A retrospective evaluation of heparin product reactions in patients with alpha-gal allergies. Ticks and tick-borne diseases. 2022 Jan;13(1):101869

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    PMID: 34798527

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