Allergic to EKG electrodes?

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 10/22/2010 8:47 AM (GMT -6)   
(This message is cross-posted in both Heart & Cardiovascuar Disease and Allergies & Asthma.)
I just spent 24 hours wearing a holter monitor, a portable heart test device for those who don't know.  I seem to have had an allergic reaction to something in the electrodes that were attached to my skin, but I'm not 100% sure.
When the technician first attached the electrodes, they stung and burned, with a little itching.  This continued but decreased over the next 1-1.5 hours.  This morning when I removed them, the places where the electrodes - or rather the gel on them - touched my skin were red.  The rest of the area, including where the adhesive had been, was fine.
Anyone in either forum ever have a reaction like this?
The technician asked me - belatedly - if I was allergic to nickel, claiming that the gel contained it, but the package doesn't say; it does list silver, though.  I have a call in to the company that makes them to find out for sure.  I didn't think I was allergic to either metal.  For the allergy folks, does this sound like your symptoms of a metal allergy? 
Of course, if it ends up being silver allergy, the dentist gets involved next, as I have the old-style metal fillings in my teeth, and they contain silver.
I seem to be developing or discovering new sensitivities every few months, and it's really getting me down.  I never know what's allergen-safe any more.  :(

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 10/22/2010 9:14 AM (GMT -6)   
Can you wear bandaids? I am allergic to the adhesive found in bandaids, not the latex. I get a similiar reaction, it burns and itches. When the bandaid comes off, I have a red welt. Could it be that you are just allergic to the mild adhesive that is in the electrodes?
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 10/22/2010 10:01 AM (GMT -6)   
I don't think so. The red patches occurred where there wasn't any adhesive in contact with my skin. Where the adhesive was, my skin was normal.

I have had smooth red irritated skin where latex-free adhesive has been attached, say after giving blood; bandaids don't seem to be so bad.

Again, though, this morning's spots weren't in contact with any of the adhesive on the electrodes.

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 10/22/2010 9:50 PM (GMT -6)   
You could be allergic to the gel????
See if your allergist can check you for silver or nickel.

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 2/19/2014 4:59 PM (GMT -6)   
I came across this post because the same thing just happened to me. I know this is old, but maybe you will still see it? Did you ever find out what your allergy was? I did not know I had any sensitivities, but had big red welts where the gel was, and like you not where the bandages were though. They lasted about 3 weeks and are now barely noticeable, just a little redness.

Thanks so much!
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