Pregnancy and Cydex

Specialties Ob/Gyn


I'm not an L&D nurse (but I wish I was)- I work in Urology. We use Cydex to sterilize our equipment. The fumes are pretty irritating and I'm wondering if anyone knows how dangerous this stuff is to work around during pregnancy? Thanks!!

I am responding to your question regarding the use of Cydex and it's implications on pregnancy. First of all I am going to introduce myself. I am Melissa Helmin and am currently a nursing student at the University of Minnesota. I will be graduating in May 2000. I do not wish to become a labor and delivery nurse either, but when I saw your question I was intrigued to find the answer. I too am interested to find out the effects that this solvent has on pregnancy, since I may become pregnant someday and will be working in a hospital setting. I should also let you know that I am fulfilling an assignment for school as well.

Cydex, the tradename for the solvent known as glutaraldeyde, is marketed by Johnson and Johnson. It is being used to sterilize equipment like endoscopes, surgical tools, dialysis equipment, suction bottles, transducers, and instruments used to assess ears, noses, and throats (Wilburn, 1999). Cydex is also used by many institutions during x-ray film processing (Coombes, 1999).

The solvent can irritate your skin, eyes, throat, and lungs, which leads to dermatitis, or eczema. Nurses also run the risk of becoming senstitized to it, so that even the smallest future exposure may cause rhinitis, conjunctivits, or asthma (Coombes, 1999). Exposure has also been associated with renal damage, which is evidenced by proteinuria, albuminuria, or increased presence of erthyrocytes and leukocytes in urine (Hewitt & Tellier, 1998).

Cydex can be very damaging to a developing fetus. Studies have shown that the agent is associated with spontaneous abortions, causes pregnancy induced hypertension, and there is a ten times greater risk for the fetus to suffer from hydramnios. Clinical conditions associated with hydramnios include maternal diabetes mellitus, Rh-isoimmunization, tracheoesophageal fistulas, as well as other gastrointestinal and central system anomalies (Hewitt & Tellier, 1998).

I hope this answers, or at least helps to answer, your question regarding the risks of Cydex use. Good luck with further research.

Coombes, R. (1999). Toxic toll. Nursing Times, 95, 12-13.

Hewitt, J. B., & Tellier, L. (1998). Risk of adverse outcomes in pregnant women exposed to solvents. Journal of Obstetrical, Gynecological, and Neonatal Nurse, 27, 521-531.

Wilburn, S. (1999). Is the air in your hospital making you sick? American Journal of Nursing, 99, 71.

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