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Clinical & Experimental Allergy

Recurrent reactions to food among children at paediatric emergency departments

Epidemiology of Allergic Disease

Authors

  • M. Vetander,

    Corresponding author
    1. Sachs’ Children and Youth Hospital, Södersjukhuset, Stockholm, Sweden
    2. Department of Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
    • Correspondence:

      Mirja Vetander, Sachs’ Children and Youth Hospital, Södersjukhuset, SE 118 83 Stockholm, Sweden.

      E-mail: mirja.vetander@ki.se

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  • D. H. Ly,

    1. Department of Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • N. Håkansson,

    1. Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • G. Lilja,

    1. Sachs’ Children and Youth Hospital, Södersjukhuset, Stockholm, Sweden
    2. Department of Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • C. Nilsson,

    1. Sachs’ Children and Youth Hospital, Södersjukhuset, Stockholm, Sweden
    2. Department of Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • E. Östblom,

    1. Sachs’ Children and Youth Hospital, Södersjukhuset, Stockholm, Sweden
    2. Department of Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • M. Wickman,

    1. Sachs’ Children and Youth Hospital, Södersjukhuset, Stockholm, Sweden
    2. Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • A. Bergström

    1. Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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Summary

Background

Knowledge about repeated food reactions in paediatric emergency departments (ED) is sparse.

Objective

To investigate the incidence and potential risk factors for repeated ED visits for food-allergic reactions among children with a prior ED visit due to reactions to food.

Methods

A total of 358 children with ED visits at paediatric hospitals in Stockholm due to reactions to foods during 2007 (index-reaction) were investigated in relation to recurrent reactions until 30 June 2010. Adjusted Cox proportional hazard models were used to compute relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).

Results

A total of 80 children had 116 ED revisits over a period of 873 patient-years, yielding an incidence rate of 9 per 100 patient-years. Known food allergy before the index ED visit in 2007 increased the risk for ED revisits (RR = 2.30, 95% CI 1.35–3.94). Likewise, prescription of adrenaline auto-injector before the index-reaction increased the risk (RR = 2.02, 95% CI 1.17–3.49). Twenty-one percent of the children had more severe reactions at the revisit, 38% less severe and 41% had reactions of comparable severity. However, among 44% of the children with comparable or less severe reaction at revisit, early treatment with adrenaline hampered the classification of change in severity.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Previously known food allergy and prior prescription of adrenaline are significant risk factors for ED revisits among children with a prior ED visit due to reactions to food. Our results indicate that the severity of the index-reaction cannot be used to predict the severity of the relapse.

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