Chapter 28: Anaphylaxis


A life-threatening systemic hypersensitivity reaction to contact with an allergen; it may appear within minutes of exposure to the offending substance. Manifestations include respiratory distress, pruritus, urticaria, mucous membrane swelling, GI disturbances (including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea), and vascular collapse. Virtually any allergen may trigger an anaphylactic reaction, but among the more common agents are proteins such as antisera, hormones, pollen extracts, Hymenoptera venom, and foods; drugs (especially antibiotics); and diagnostic agents such as IV contrast material. Atopy does not seem to predispose to anaphylaxis from drug reactions or venom exposures. Anaphylactic transfusion reactions are covered in Chap. 9: Transfusion and Pheresis Therapy.

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