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Occupational asthma after exposure to ortho-phthalaldehyde (OPA)
  1. Catherine Robitaille,
  2. Louis-Philippe Boulet
  1. Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec, Université Laval, Laval, Québec, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Louis-Philippe Boulet, Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec, 2725, Chemin Sainte-Foy, Québec, QC, Canada G1V 4G5; lpboulet{at}

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Ortho-phthalaldehyde (OPA) is an aromatic dialdehyde that has largely replaced glutaraldehyde as a new high-level disinfectant for heat-sensitive medical devices, including endoscopes. It is a low-molecular-weight chemical with in vivo dermal and respiratory sensitising properties.1 ,2 Reports of immunological reactions have been reported in workers exposed to OPA-disinfected cystocopes.3

We describe the case of a 55-year-old woman who consulted at the emergency department with dyspnoea, wheezing, conjunctival redness and low peak expiratory flow. She had been promoted to the endoscopic sterilisation service of a regional hospital 2 months earlier, where OPA (Cidex OPA) was used for disinfection of endoscopes. Symptoms …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.