Anaphylactic patient characteristics, clinical features, and current practice in the emergency unit

Shirina Alsowaidi, Amna Al Hana, Khalid M. Zarouni, Ahmed H.Al Zaabi, Abdishakur Abdulle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We aim to assess patient characteristics, clinical features, and the current practice in the management of anaphylaxis. We conducted a retrospective review of anaphylactic patients among emergency department visitors from January, 2007 to January 2008, in Tawam hospital, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Data pertaining patient's age, sex, clinical features, involved systems, past history of allergy, type of the allergen, treatment and outcome (death, discharge, re-admission, and follow up) was collected in a two page questionnaire. A total number of 123 patient charts were reviewed. Overall, 69.1% subjects had a known history of allergic disease out of which only 31.8% of the subjects (males and females) were aware of the nature of their allergic disease and the triggering allergen. Regarding the current episode of anaphylaxis, most of patients (98) and regardless of their history, reported knowledge of the triggering allergen, the overwhelming majority (77) of whom were exposed to hymenoptera (ants, wasps, and bees). Although unexpected, a considerable number of cases (21.1%) were said to have been exposed to scorpion bites. The reported symptoms and the severity of cases varied from simple itching to significant involvement of the cardiovascular system. Most of the subjects were transported to hospital by a family member as opposed to the existing ambulance services. Overall, antihistamines and oral steroids, but not adrenalin, were the treatments of choice. No prolonged hospitalization was recorded as all patients were, presumably, treated satisfactorily and discharged on the same the day. The current study reports that the vast majority of anaphylaxis cases seen in the emergency unit were due to Hymenoptera exposure. Thus, specific immunotherapy may effectively minimize the risk of recurrence. However, a significant number of cases are either under reported or under diagnosed, and though less convincing, there were no sever cases of anaphylaxis. Prevention measures and treatment strategies should include awareness programs among health care professionals and patients to encourage follow up and targeted treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-410
Number of pages5
JournalBiomedical Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • Allergen
  • Allergy
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Antihistamines
  • Hymenoptera

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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