Sacha Rumaner had gone in for a routine dental appointment after an uneventful extraction of a tooth, when she collapsed and died after a suspected allergic reaction.She was not even under anaesthetic and was just having her teeth cleaned, when she was given a mouthwash containing a chemical antiseptic, chlorhexidine. Soon she complained of feeling hot and an itchy sensation on her leg when she collapsed. Paramedics' efforts to resuscitate her failed and she was declared dead when they took her just a few streets away to the Royal Sussex County Hospital.
A post-mortem examination could not reveal anything and an inquest has been scheduled on June 15. NHS Brighton and Hove have launched an inquiry into the death.
It has been suspected that although she did not have any history of allergies, she could have gone into an anaphylactic shock, which is an extreme allergic reaction to certain triggering factors like nuts, eggs, shellfish, pollen, dust, latex, certain medications, wasps and bee stings.
Dr Pamela Ewan, a consultant allergist, said, 'If chlorhexidine goes into the bloodstream through the lining of the mouth it can cause anaphy-lactic shock. But this is very unusual with mouthwash because of the short time it is in the mouth. If, in this tragic case, the young woman's death was caused by mouthwash, it is a very dramatic reaction.'
Unfortunately, this is not the first case of an extreme, fatal reaction to a mouthwash. This second incident only underscores the importance of a thorough investigation.