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Keywords:

  • anaphylactoid shock;
  • anaphylaxis;
  • Hymenoptera sting;
  • mastocytosis;
  • systemic mast cell disease

Abstract. Systemic mastocytosis is a rare and chronic disorder characterized by a pathologically increased number of mast cells in various tissues and overproduction of mast cell mediators. From a group of 15 patients (10 females. 5 males) with systemic mastocytosis five female patients presented with a history of an anaphylactoid shock reaction to wasp sting. Three of them had no demonstrable specific IgE against wasp or bee venom in serum, and a skin test that was only weakly positive for wasp venom. One patient had specific IgE against wasp venom and a clearly positive skin test to wasp venom. The other patient had specific IgE against both wasp and bee venom and a skin test that was only weakly positive to wasp venom. Two patients had to stop a hyposensitization procedure because of systemic side effects. The five patients did not differ from the other patients with systemic mastocytosis with regard to either clinical symptoms and signs or urinary excretion of histamine metabolites. From the latter group two female and three male patients said they had been stung by a wasp in the past. Thus, anaphylactoid shock after Hymenoptera sting can be a presenting symptom of systemic mastocytosis and may be caused by an IgE-as well as a non-IgE-mediated mechanism. In cases of anaphylactoid reaction to Hymenoptera sting, especially when there is no IgE demonstrable in serum or in cases of intolerance of hyposensitization, the diagnosis of systemic mastocytosis should be considered, also in the absence of the clinical hallmarks of urticaria pigmentosa.