To the Editor:—
A patient admitted to our hospital for a scheduled elective cesarean section had a medical history significant for severe skin reactions to adhesive tapes, causing exfoliating “burn-like” lesions, resulting in permanent skin scarring. Of note, “paper tape” caused her no adverse skin reaction. Further history taking revealed that contact with electrocardiogram electrode pads left her with erythematous “cigar burns” over the entire portion of her skin contacted by the adhesive of the pad; these lesions were painful and took several weeks to resolve.
In an effort to minimize, and possibly eliminate, any adverse skin reaction caused by contact with the electrocardiogram pad adhesive, we removed the paper backing of the electrocardiogram pad (Red Dot Electrocardiogram Electrode, 3 M Health Care Products and Services Division, London, Ontario), cut out a small (approximately 0.3 cm) central circle and reapplied the paper to the pads (fig. 1). These modified electrocardiogram pads were then placed in proper position on the patient and secured in place with paper tape. The resultant electrocardiogram trace showed normal amplitude without any evidence of interference.
This minor adjustment to the electrocardiogram pads allowed for the electrode and conductive gel to be in contact with the patient, while minimizing the adhesive contact with the patient's skin. Postoperative examination revealed no adverse skin reactions.