ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
A Practical Guide to Anaphylaxis - Article
ABSTRACT: Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction with respiratory, cardiovascular, cutaneous, or gastrointestinal manifestations resulting from exposure to an offending agent, usually a food, insect sting, medication, or physical factor. It causes approximately 1,500 deaths in the United States annually. Occasionally, anaphylaxis can be confused with septic or other forms of shock, asthma, airway foreign body, panic attack, or other entities. Urinary and serum histamine levels and plasma tryptase levels drawn after onset of symptoms may assist in diagnosis. Prompt treatment of anaphylaxis is critical, with subcutaneous or intramuscular epinephrine and intravenous fluids remaining the mainstay of management. Adjunctive measures include airway protection, antihistamines, steroids, and beta agonists. Patients taking beta blockers may require additional measures. Patients should be observed for delayed or protracted anaphylaxis and instructed on how to initiate urgent treatment for future episodes.
Food Allergies: Detection and Management - Article
ABSTRACT: Family physicians play a central role in the suspicion and diagnosis of immunoglobulin E-mediated food allergies, but they are also critical in redirecting the evaluation for symptoms that patients are falsely attributing to allergies. Although any food is a potential allergen, more than 90 percent of acute systemic reactions to food in children are from eggs, milk, soy, wheat, or peanuts, and in adults are from crustaceans, tree nuts, peanuts, or fish. The oral allergy syndrome is more common than anaphylactic reactions to food, but symptoms are transient and limited to the mouth and throat. Skin-prick and radioallergosorbent tests for particular foods have about an 85 percent sensitivity and 30 to 60 percent specificity. Intradermal testing has a higher false-positive rate and greater risk of adverse reactions; therefore, it should not be used for initial evaluations. The double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge remains the most specific test for confirming diagnosis. Treatment is through recognition and avoidance of the responsible food. Patients with anaphylactic reactions need emergent epinephrine and instruction in self-administration in the event of inadvertent exposure. Antihistamines can be used for more minor reactions.
ABSTRACT: In a select group of persons, exercise can produce a spectrum of allergic symptoms ranging from an erythematous, irritating skin eruption to a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. The differential diagnosis in persons with exercise-induced dermatologic and systemic symptoms should include exercise-induced anaphylaxis and cholinergic urticaria. Both are classified as physical allergies. Mast cell degranulation with the release of vasoactive substances appears to be an inciting factor for the production of symptoms in both cases. Exercise-induced anaphylaxis and cholinergic urticaria can be differentiated on the basis of urticarial morphology, reproducibility, progression to anaphylaxis and response to passive warming. Diagnosis is usually based on a thorough history and examination of the morphology of the lesions. Management of acute episodes of exercise-induced anaphylaxis includes cessation of exercise, administration of epinephrine and antihistamines, vascular support and airway maintenance. Long-term care may require modification of or abstinence from exercise, avoidance of co-precipitating factors and the prophylactic use of medications such as antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers.
ABSTRACT: The development of topical anesthetics has provided the family physician with multiple options in anesthetizing open and intact skin. The combination of tetracaine, adrenaline (epinephrine), and cocaine, better known as TAC, was the first topical agent available for analgesia of lacerations to the face and scalp. Cocaine has been replaced with lidocaine in a newer formulation called LET (lidocaine, epinephrine, and tetracaine). For analgesia to nonintact skin, LET gel is generally preferred over TAC because of its superior safety record and cost-effectiveness. EMLA (eutectic mixture of local anesthetics) is perhaps the most well-known topical anesthetic for use on intact skin. EMLA can be used to anesthetize the skin before intramuscular injections, venipuncture, and simple skin procedures such as curettage or biopsy. To be fully effective, EMLA should be applied at least 90 minutes before the procedure. ELA-Max is a new, rapidly acting topical agent for intact skin that works by way of a liposomal delivery system and is available over the counter. Other delivery vehicles for topical anesthesia currently in development, including iontophoresis and anesthetic patches, may one day give patients and physicians even more flexibility.
Croup: An Overview - Article
ABSTRACT: Croup is a common illness responsible for up to 15 percent of emergency department visits due to respiratory disease in children in the United States. Croup symptoms usually start like an upper respiratory tract infection, with low-grade fever and coryza followed by a barking cough and various degrees of respiratory distress. In most children, the symptoms subside quickly with resolution of the cough within two days. Croup is often caused by viruses, with parainfluenza virus (types 1 to 3) as the most common. However, physicians should consider other diagnoses, including bacterial tracheitis, epiglottitis, foreign body aspiration, peritonsillar abscess, retropharyngeal abscess, and angioedema. Humidification therapy has not been proven beneficial. A single dose of dexamethasone (0.15 to 0.60 mg per kg usually given orally) is recommended in all patients with croup, including those with mild disease. Nebulized epinephrine is an accepted treatment in patients with moderate to severe croup. Most episodes of croup are mild, with only 1 to 8 percent of patients with croup requiring hospital admission and less than 3 percent of admitted patients requiring intubation.
Anaphylaxis: Recognition and Management - Article
ABSTRACT: Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening, systemic allergic reaction that is almost always unanticipated and may lead to death by airway obstruction or vascular collapse. Anaphylaxis occurs as the result of an allergen response, usually immunoglobulin E–mediated, which leads to mast cell and basophil activation and a combination of dermatologic, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and neurologic symptoms. Dermatologic and respiratory symptoms are most common, occurring in 90 and 70 percent of episodes, respectively. The three most common triggers are food, insect stings, and medications. The diagnosis of anaphylaxis is typically made when symptoms occur within one hour of exposure to a specific antigen. Confirmatory testing using serum histamine and tryptase levels is difficult, because blood samples must be drawn with strict time considerations. Allergen skin testing and in vitro assay for serum immunoglobulin E of specific allergens do not reliably predict who will develop anaphylaxis. Administration of intramuscular epinephrine at the onset of anaphylaxis, before respiratory failure or cardiovascular compromise, is essential. Histamine H1 receptor antagonists and corticosteroids may be useful adjuncts. All patients at risk of recurrent anaphylaxis should be educated about the appropriate use of prescription epinephrine autoinjectors.
Neonatal Resuscitation: An Update - Article
ABSTRACT: Appropriate resuscitation must be available for each of the more than 4 million infants born annually in the United States. Ninety percent of infants transition safely, and it is up to the physician to assess risk factors, identify the nearly 10 percent of infants who need resuscitation, and respond appropriately. A team or persons trained in neonatal resuscitation should be promptly available to provide resuscitation. The Neonatal Resuscitation Program, which was initiated in 1987 to identify infants at risk of needing resuscitation and provide high-quality resuscitation, underwent major updates in 2006 and 2010. Among the most important changes are to not intervene with endotracheal suctioning in vigorous infants born through meconium-stained amniotic fluid (although endotracheal suctioning may be appropriate in nonvigorous infants); to provide positive pressure ventilation with one of three devices when necessary; to begin resuscitation of term infants using room air or blended oxygen; and to have a pulse oximeter readily available in the delivery room. The updated guidelines also provide indications for chest compressions and for the use of intravenous epinephrine, which is the preferred route of administration, and recommend not to use sodium bicarbonate or naloxone during resuscitation. Other recommendations include confirming endotracheal tube placement using an exhaled carbon dioxide detector; using less than 100 percent oxygen and adequate thermal support to resuscitate preterm infants; and using therapeutic hypothermia for infants born at 36 weeks’ gestation or later with moderate to severe hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.
ABSTRACT: Patients with suspected food allergies are commonly seen in clinical practice. Although up to 15 percent of parents believe their children have food allergies, these allergies have been confirmed in only 1 to 3 percent of all Americans. Family physicians must be able to separate true food allergies from food intolerance, food dislikes, and other conditions that mimic food allergy. The most common foods that produce allergic symptoms are milk, eggs, seafood, peanuts, and tree nuts. Although skin testing and in vitro serum immunoglobulin E assays may help in the evaluation of suspected food allergies, they should not be performed unless the clinical history suggests a specific food allergen to which testing can be targeted. Furthermore, these tests do not confirm food allergy. Confirmation requires a positive food challenge or a clear history of an allergic reaction to a food and resolution of symptoms after eliminating that food from the diet. More than 70 percent of children will outgrow milk and egg allergies by early adolescence, whereas peanut allergies usually remain throughout life. The most serious allergic response to food allergy is anaphylaxis. It requires emergency care that should be initiated by the patient or family using an epinephrine autoinjector, which should be carried by anyone with a diagnosed food allergy. These and other recommendations presented in this article are derived from the Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States, published by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.