Underdiagnosis Of Anaphylaxis In The Emergency Department: Misdiagnosed Or Miscoded?
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Objectives To distinguish allergic reactions and anaphylaxis, and to highlight the importance of anaphylaxis. Design Case series. Setting Adult emergency department of the medical faculty of Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey. Patients Adults admitted to the emergency department between 1 May 2005 and 30 April 2010 with allergic diseases considered to be anaphylaxis or anaphylactic reactions. Main outcome measures Patient age, gender, possible cause(s) of allergy, organ involvement, treatment, and physical examination findings. Results Although recorded physical examination findings of patients were consistent with anaphylaxis, 88 patients were not diagnosed as having this condition. All patients in this study group were evaluated in the emergency department facility and did not consult or were not referred to any other department or specialist. In all, 79 (90%) of them were discharged in the first 12 hours, 5 (6%) after 12 to 24 hours, and 4 (5%) after 24 hours. None of these patients died. Conclusion Emergency physicians should be better able to recognise the clinical features of anaphylaxis, so as to treat the episode promptly and appropriately. Delay in diagnoses could lead to incomplete treatment and even be fatal.