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Anaphylaxis Development after Intravenous Injection of Cow's Milk/Inek Sutunun Intravenoz Enjeksiyonu Sonrasi Gelisen Anafilaksi.


Although rare, intravenous injection of foreign substances during childhood can cause fatal complications. Most of the cases reported in the literature are accidental intravenous administrations of enteral feeding formulas. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case of intravenous injection of cow's milk. In this report, we discuss the clinical presentation and treatment of a 17-year-old nursing student who injected pasteurized homogenized cow's milk into herself due to curiosity. The girl presented to our emergency department after this injection. During admission, she presented with angioedema, gastrointestinal symptoms, dyspnea, and tachycardia associated with resistant hypotension. She, then, developed leukocytosis and elevated D-dimer levels, as determined in the laboratory. The patient was diagnosed as having anaphylaxis with clinical presentation and cow's milk-specific IgE positivity, based on laboratory findings. The patient was initially treated with adrenaline, corticosteroids, and antihistamines. Inotropes including catecholamines and wide-spectrum antibiotics were added into the therapy for resistant hypotension and sepsis prophylaxis. Low-molecular-weight heparin treatment was given for the elevated D-dimer levels and prevention of embolic events. With these therapeutic interventions, there were no signs of sepsis, thrombosis, embolus, and multi-organ failure. The patient was discharged without any neurological complications or sequelae on the 6th day of hospital admission. Although sepsis and septic shock development is usually expected after the injection of foreign substances such as in this case, interestingly, there was an anaphylactic reaction caused by the patient's subclinical cow's milk allergy.

Keywords: Anaphylaxis, cow's milk, allergy


Cocuklukta nadir olmasina ragmen, yabanci cisimlerin damar icinden verilmesi olumcul komplikasyonlara yol acabilir. Literaturde bildirilen cogu olgu enteral beslenme formulalarinin kazayla damar icinden verilmesi sonucudur. Bildigimiz kadariyla, olgumuz inek sutunun damar icinden yapildigi ilk vakadir. Bu olgu sunumunda, 17 yasinda kiz hemsirelik ogrencisinin, sonucunu merak etmesi nedeni ile kendisine intravenoz pastorize ve homojenize inek sutu enjekte etmesi sonrasinda gelisen klinik tablo ve tedavisini tartismaktayiz. 17 yasinda kiz inek sutunu damardan kendine enjekte etmesi sonrasinda acil birimimize getirildi. Yatisinda; anjioodem, gastrointestinal sikayetler, dispne, tasikardi ve beraberinde direncli tansiyon dusuklugu mevcuttu. Daha sonra laboratuar bulgularinda, lokositoz ve D-dimer yuksekligi gelisti. Hastamizin klinik gorunumu ve laboratuar bulgularinda inek sutu spesifik IgE pozitifligi ile anafilaksi gecirdigi teshis edildi. Olgumuza baslangicta adrenalin, kortikosteroid ve antihistaminik tedavisi uygulanmistir. Katekolamin dahil inotrop ilaclar ve genis spektrumlu antibiyotikler direncli tansiyon dusuklugu ve sepsis profilaksisi icin tedaviye eklendi. Yuksek D-dimer duzeyi ve embolik olaylarin onlenmesi icin, dusuk molekuler agirlikli heparin tedavisi verildi. Tedaviye yonelik girisimler sonrasinda, sepsis, tromboz, emboli ve multi-organ yetmezligine ait belirtiler gelismedi. Hastaneye yatisinin altinci gununde, olgu norolojik komplikasyonsuz ve sekelsiz olarak taburcu edildi. Bu tur bir girisim sonrasi normalde sepsis ve septik sok gibi bir tablonun gelismesi beklenirken, hastamizda daha onceden mevcut olan ancak fark edilmeyen, hafif inek sutu duyarliligina bagli anafilaksi tablosunun gelismesi sasirtici olmustur.

Anahtar Sozcukler: Anafilaksi, inek sutu, allerji


Intravenous injection of foreign substances in childhood is performed mostly by a caregiver or healthcare worker. Most of the cases reported in the literature are erroneous accidental intravenous administration of enteral feeding formula and maternal breast milk (Table 1) (1, 2). Although rare, intravenous injection of formulas in childhood can cause fatal complications (1-3).

To the best of our knowledge, intravenous injection of cow's milk with the intention to commit suicide or due to curiosity has not been reported earlier in the literature (Table 1). In this report, we discuss the clinical presentation and treatment of a 17-year-old female nursing student who injected pasteurized homogenized cow's milk into herself owing to curiosity.


A 17-year-old female patient presented to our emergency department with a history of intravenously injecting 5 ml of pasteurized homogenized cow's milk into herself because of curiosity 2 h prior to presentation. She reported that seconds after injection, she experienced dizziness and swelling of lips, eyes, face, and hands, followed by palpitation, cyanosis of lips and face, shivering, dyspnea, and abdominal pain within minutes. Approximately 40 min after injection, she was first brought to the emergency service of a state hospital with complaints of vomiting, angioedema, and persistent hypotension (80/50 mmHg at home and the ambulance). In the emergency room of this state hospital, 1 mg adrenaline (0.5 mg x 2 doses from 1/1000), 8 mg dexamethasone (1 ampul), and 45.5 mg pheniramine (1 ampul) were given intravenously due to the suspicion of anaphylaxis and referred to our research/training hospital. When she and her family were questioned, there was nothing significant in her past medical and family histories.

On arrival to our emergency department, the physical examination revealed a conscious, alert, and oriented patient with a body temperature of 38 [degrees]C. The initial blood pressure was 108/35 mmHg (109/50 mmHg: systolic and diastolic blood pressure at the 5th percentile for her age) and the heart rate was mildly tachycardic at 139 beats/min with regular sinus rhythm: the respiratory rate was 36 breaths/min. Physical examination revealed edema of lips, face, and periorbital area (Figure 1). The rest of the systemic examination showed normal physical findings.

Complete blood count, urine analysis, blood glucose, electrolytes, prothrombin time (PT), activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), international normalized ratio (INR), calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), total protein, arterial blood gas analysis, troponin I, creatinine kinase (CK), creatinine kinase myocardial band (CK-MB), myoglobin, renin, and total IgE test results were within normal ranges. Skin prick tests were done a few months later and found to be negative for classical food and inhalant allergens. Although specific IgE for inhalant and food allergens were negative, cow's milk-specific IgE were moderately positive (0.94 kU/L). Blood cultures and cultures from injected milk itself showed no growth. Pulmonary function test parameters were within normal limits 2 months after the reaction. Postero-anterior chest radiograph, echocardiography, abdominal ultrasonography, and renal Doppler ultrasonography did not show any pathology.

With her resistant hypotension, decreased urine output, and cow's milk-specific IgE positivity, the patient was thought to be suffering from anaphylactic reaction. During the initial course of management, bolus intravenous fluid was given at 20 mL/kg using normal saline. Dopamine (10 mcg/kg/min) was administered continuously to maintain blood pressure. Ceftriaxone (50 mg/kg/day), gentamicin (5 mg/kg/day), and clindamycin (30 mg/kg/day) treatment were initiated because of resistant hypotension and suspicion of sepsis with fever and elevated C-reactive protein (CRP). Since an anaphylactic reaction could not be ruled out, prednisolone (2 mg/kg/day) and pheniramine (1 mg/kg/day) were continued, and ranitidine (1 mg/kg/day) was initiated, too. Despite increased dopamine dosage (up to 20 mcg/kg/min), hypotension persisted; therefore, 0.2 mcg/kg/min adrenaline infusion was initiated. Follow-up laboratory investigations revealed elevated D-dimer and leukocytosis on day 1. In view of these findings, disseminated intravascular coagulation and sepsis were suspected, and the antibiotic treatment was changed to meropenem (60 mg/kg/day), vancomycin (40 mg/kg/day), and low-molecular-weight heparin (50 U/kg/dose, bid) treatments and used for 5 days. On the 3rd day of admittance, her blood pressure normalized (110/65 mmHg) and adrenalin infusion was discontinued. Facial edema of the patient was resolved on the 4th day of the hospital stay (Figure 2). The patient was discharged with cure on the 6th day in the pediatric intensive care unit. According to the psychiatric evaluation performed in the outpatient clinic, her action was not interpreted as a mood disorder and suicide attempt; it is thought to be in agreement with adolescence behavioral pattern. Written informed consent was obtained for this case report.


In childhood, inadvertent intravenous administration of enteral feeding formulas may lead to a wide spectrum of clinical presentations, and even death. Most of the cases reported in the literature are medication errors (1, 2, 4-7). Probably due to the shortage of reporting, there has not been a similar case of milk injection reported before from Turkey as well as the rest of the world.

Intravenous infusion of enteral feeding may lead to sepsis, acute respiratory distress, cardiovascular collapse, liver and renal failures, thrombosis, microembolism, hypersensitivity, seizures, multiple organ failure, and death (1, 3, 7-9). Seizures and permanent neurological impairment was described in preterm infants (Table 1) (1). In our case, anaphylactic reaction was diagnosed on the basis of clinical findings such as angioedema, resistant hypotension, and respiratory and gastrointestinal findings, as well as specific IgE positivity. Enteral feeding formulas have a base of milk proteins; therefore, inadvertent injection of these formulas may lead to anaphylaxis even in mildly sensitized persons. Enteral feeding formulas have high osmolarity, which contributes toward organ dysfunction (5, 10). Symptom severity depends on the type of substance, amount of substance given, and rate of infusion (1). After injecting cow's milk, there was an anaphylactic reaction clinic that developed immediately in the patient. This anaphylactic reaction was mediated through an immune response to the cow's milk proteins. Despite being unaware of her sensitization, mild hypersensitivity of the patient could explain this anaphylactic reaction.

Any hypotension develops secondary to sepsis or anaphylaxis; it should be treated with aggressive fluids, vasopressors, and inotropes (5, 8, 10). In our case, adrenalin, anti-histamines, and corticosteroids were given in the beginning. Further, fluid bolus, inotropes, and catecholamines had to be given for resistant hypotension. We think that late administration (after the 1st hour) of adrenalin in our patient was thought to be responsible for resistant hypotension, particularly in the diastolic component.

Enteral feeding formula injection may lead to sepsis, which is related to bacterial overgrowth in its content (5, 11). In the reports from literature, multi-organ dysfunction was not directly related to septic shock but the osmolarity of the product (1, 8). The patient in this report, who did not develop multi-organ dysfunction, was treated prophylactically to prevent sepsis with broad-spectrum antibiotics until the blood and milk cultures turned negative.

Badran et al. (3) reported a 34-week-old neonate who developed leukocytosis, thrombocytopenia, transient metabolic acidosis, superficial thrombophlebitis, and thrombosis of greater saphenous vein after accidently receiving formula milk intravenously for over 2 h through the central catheter. Our case developed only leukocytosis at the 9th hour of admission, which persisted for 4 days; this was thought to be related to an anaphylactic reaction, systemic steroids given, or adrenalin infusion.

Several studies suggested that treatment should basically focus on the regulation of osmolarity, treatment of microembolism, hypersensitivity, and sepsis (5). Patients should be started on broad-spectrum antibiotics and adjustment of antibiotic treatment according to the blood results and injected material cultures should be done (1, 5, 8, 9, 10). In our case, blood cultures were negative; it might be due to single-dose ceftriaxone treatment before admission to our facility. Since injected material cultures and laboratory results were negative after clinical presentation, the diagnosis of sepsis was ruled out and her antibiotic therapy was stopped on the 5th day of admission.

Some of the clinical features of inadvertent intravenous injections may be explained by the microembolism of fat globules, water-insoluble particles, and an immune response to foreign antigens (Table 1) (1, 10). It is reported that a particular structure of enteral feeding may lead to pulmonary embolism (5). During treatment, oxygen therapy should be initiated and the patient should be watched closely for pulmonary edema and pulmonary thromboembolism. Heparin was administered, in some cases, as prophylaxis to prevent thromboembolic events (1, 5). In our patient, there were no radiological findings and clinical presentation of pulmonary embolism. In the 20th hour of follow-up, since our patient's D-dimer level was elevated, low-molecular-weight heparin treatment was initiated. The D-dimer level returned to normal at the 45th hour of admission.

Management of most cases in the literature was supported by oxygen supplementation and mechanical ventilation, diuretic therapy, peritoneal dialysis, and steroid administration (Table 1). Plasmapheresis and exchange transfusion in an adult and a preterm infant was reported to improve oxygenation and stabilize hemodynamics (1). Our patient did not need plasmapheresis and exchange transfusion. A comparison of our patient with the cases reported in the literature is shown in Table 1.


Although sepsis and septic shock presentation is usually expected after the injection of foreign substance, interestingly, there was a clinical presentation of anaphylaxis in which angioedema and systemic symptoms involving 4 organs caused by the patient's mild, subclinical cow's milk allergy.

Informed Consent: Written and verbal informed consent was obtained from patients' parents and the patient who participated in this study.

Peer-review: Externally peer-reviewed.

Author Contributions: Concept--B.E., O.O.; Design--B.E., O.O.; Supervision--O.O., D.B.A.; Resources--O.O., B.E.; Materials--B.E., D.B.A.; Data Collection and/or Processing--B.E., D.B.A.; Analysis and/or Interpretation--B.E., O.O.; Literature Search--B.E., D.B.A.; Writing Manuscript--B.E., O.O.; Critical Review--O.O.

Conflict of Interest: No conflict of interest was declared by the authors.

Financial Disclosure: The authors declared that this study has received no financial support.

Hasta Onami: Yazili ve sozlu hasta onami bu calismaya katilan hastanin ailesinden ve hastadan alinmistir.

Hakem Degerlendirmesi: Dis bagimsiz.

Yazar Katkilari: Fikir--B.E., O.O.; Tasarim--B.E., O.O.; Denetleme--O.O., D.B.A.; Kaynaklar--O.O., B.E.; Malzemeler--B.E., D.B.A.; Veri Toplanmasi ve/veya Islemesi--B.E., D.B.A.; Analiz ve/veya Yorum--B.E., O.O.; Literatur Taramasi--B.E., D.B.A.; Yaziyi Yazan--B.E., O.O.; Elestirel Inceleme--O.O.

Cikar Catismasi: Yazarlar cikar catismasi bildirmemislerdir.

Finansal Destek: Yazarlar bu calisma icin finansal destek almadiklarini beyan etmislerdir.


(1.) Doring M, Brenner B, Handgretinger R, Hofbeck M, Kerst G. Inadvertent intravenous administration of maternal breast milk in a six-week-old infant: a case report and review of the literature. BMC Research Notes 2014; 7: 17. [CrossRef]

(2.) Hicks RW, Becker SC, Chuo J. A summary of NICU fat emulsion medication errors and nursing services: data from MEDMARX. Adv Neonatal Care 2007; 7: 299-308. [CrossRef]

(3.) Badran EF, Semrin A, Abdelghani T, Ajour M. Intravenous milk infusion; rare medication error. Pediat Therapeut 2014; 4: 201.

(4.) Sen I, Raju RS, Vyas FL. Inadvertent central venous infusion of enteral feed: Case Report. Ann R Coll Surg Engl 2008; 90: W1-2. [CrossRef]

(5.) Gourley D. Sentinel event alert released regarding tubing misconnections. J Resp Care Sleep Med 2006; 3: 42.

(6.) Ryan CA, Mohammed I, Murphy B. Normal neurologic and developmental outcome after and accidental intravenous infusion of expressed breast milk in a neonate. Pediatrics 2006; 117: 236-8. [CrossRef]

(7.) Takeshita H, Yasuda T, Nakajima T, Mori S, Mogi K, Ohkawara H, et al. A death resulting from inadvertent intravenous infusion of enteral feed. Int J Legal Med 2002; 116: 36-8. [CrossRef]

(8.) Ulicny KS Jr, Korelitz JL. Multiorgan failure from the inadvertent intravenous administration of enteral feeding. J Parent Enter Nutr 1989; 13: 658-60. [CrossRef]

(9.) Vanitha V, Narasimhan KL. Intravenous breast milk administration-A rare accident. Indian Pediatrics 2006; 43: 827.

(10.) Malone M, Aftahi S, Howard L. Inadvertent intravenous administration of an elemental enteral nutrition formula. Ann Pharmacother 1993; 27: 1187-9. [CrossRef]

(11.) Stapleton GN, Symmonds KL, Immelman EJ. Septicaemia resulting from inadvertent intravenous administration of enteral nutrient solution. A case report. S Afr Med J 1988; 73: 542-3.

Bahri Elmas (1), Oner Ozdemir (2), Dilek Bingol Aydin (1)

(1) Department of Pediatrics, Sakarya University School of Medicine, Training and Research Hospital, Sakarya, Turkey

(2) Department of Pediatric Allergy-Immunology, Sakarya University School of Medicine, Training and Research Hospital, Sakarya, Turkey

Address for Correspondence / Yazisma Adresi: Oner Ozdemir E-mail:

Received Date / Gelis Tarihi: 14.01.2016 Accepted Date / Kabul Tarihi: 06.04.2016

Bu calisma 11. Uludag Pediatri Kis Kongresi'nde sunulmustur, 15-18 Mart 2015, Bursa, Turkiye.

This study was presented in the 11th Uludag Pediatrics Winter Congress, 15-18 March 2015, Bursa, Turkey.

This study was presented in the Annals of Allergy Asthma & Immunology Volume: 115 Issue: 5 Supplement: S Pages: A44-A44 Meeting Abstract: P17 Published: November 2015.

Bu calisma Annals of Allergy Asthma Immunology kitapciginda ozet bildiri olarak yayinlanmistir.

Bu calisma 10. Ulusal Cocuk Alerji ve Astim Kongresi'nde sunulmustur, 16 - 19 Nisan 2015, Sakarya, Turkiye.

This study was presented in the 10th National Congress of Child Allergy and Asthma, 16-19 April 2015, Sakarya, Turkey.

This study was presented in the MOJ Immunology Proceedings, MOJ Immunol 3(2): 00079. DOI: 10.15406/moji.2016.03.00079

Bu calisma MOJ Immunology Kitapciginda ozet bildiri olarak yayinlanmistir.

Cite this article as: Elmas B, Ozdemir O, Bingol Aydin D. Anaphylaxis Development after Intravenous Injection of Cow's Milk. JAREM 2017; 7: 95-8.
Table 1. Different cases related to intravenous injection of foreign
substances reported in the literature

Features        Case 1                 Case 2         Case 3

Age             10-day-old             6-week-old     60-year-old
Gender          Female                 Male           Female
Substance       MCT formula            Breast Milk    Enteral Feeds
Amount          4 mL                   5 mL           25 mL
of Substance
Complete        Mild transient         Normal         Leukocytosis
Blood Count     trombocytopenia
Blood Culture   Negative               Negative       Klebsiella spp,
                                                      Enterococcus spp.

Substance       Negative               Negative       N/A

Vital Signs     N/A                    Sp[O.sub.2]    Sp[O.sub.2]
                                       [down arrow]   [down arrow]
                                       HR[up arrow]   HR[up arrow]
                                       R R[up arrow]  RR[up arrow]
                                                      BP[down arrow]
Sign of         Superficial            No             No
Embolism        trombophlebitis,
                trombosis of greater
                saphenous vein
Organ Failure   Brain                  No             Pulmonary
Antibiotics     Vancomycin,            Ampicillin     Piperacillin-
                Imipenem                              Tazobactam
Ionotrops,      No need                No need        Noradrenalin,
Vasopressors                                          Vasopressin,
Other           [O.sub.2],             [O.sub.2]      [O.sub.2], IV
treatments      IV fluid, LMWH                        fluid, LMWH,
Neurological    Leukomalacia           Good           Good
Reference       3                      1              5

Features         Case 4               Case 5             Case 6

Age              50-year-old          5-day-old          17-year-old
Gender           Male                 Male               Female
Substance        Enteral Feeds        Breast Milk        Cow's Milk
Amount           100 mL               10 mL              5 mL
of Substance
Complete         Leukocytosis         Leukocytosis,      Leukocytosis
Blood Count                           thrombocytopenia
Blood Culture    Klebsiella spp       Group ,            Negative
Substance        Klebsiella spp       Group              Negative
Culture                               G Streptococcus,
Vital Signs      Sp[O.sub.2]                             HR[up arrow]
                 [down arrow]         N/A                RR[up arrow]
                 HR[up arrow]                            BP[down arrow]
                 RR[up arrow]                            Fever+
                 BP[down arrow]
Sign of          No                   No                 No
Organ Failure    Respiratory          Respiratory        Angioedema
                 Failure              Failure
Antibiotics      Antibiotics          Broad-spectrum     Meropenem,
                                      antibiotics        Vancomycin
Ionotrops,       Dopamine,            No need            Dopamine,
Vasopressors     Norepinephrine                          Adrenaline

Other            Mechanical           Mechanical         [O.sub.2], IV
treatments       Ventilation,         Ventilation        fluid, LMWH,
                 IV fluid,                               pheniramine,
                 plasmapheresis                          prednisolone

Neurological     Good                 Good               Good
Reference        16                   7                  Our Case

MCT: medium-chain triglycerides; BP: blood pressure; HR: heart rate;
LMWH: low molecular weight heparin; N/A: not available; RR: respiratory
rate; Sp[O.sub.2]: oxygen saturation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2017 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Case Report / Olgu Sunumu
Author:Elmas, Bahri; Ozdemir, Oner; Aydin, Dilek Bingol
Publication:Journal of Academic Research in Medicine
Article Type:Report
Date:Aug 1, 2017
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