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Keywords:

  • allergy;
  • anaphylaxis;
  • disease management;
  • systematic review

To cite this article: Kastner M, Harada L, Waserman S. Gaps in anaphylaxis management at the level of physicians, patients, and the community: a systematic review of the literature. Allergy 2010; 65: 435–444.

Abstract

Diagnosis and management of anaphylaxis can be a challenge because reactions are often unexpected and progress quickly. The focus of anaphylaxis management has mostly been on the acute episode, with little attention given to the long-term management of patients at risk. This is compounded by conflicting information in current guidelines and a general lack of agreement among clinicians about which management strategies are the most appropriate. We systematically reviewed the literature to identify and summarize studies that investigated gaps in anaphylaxis management. Our search included MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and Evidence-Based Medicine Reviews. Studies were included if they addressed an outcome describing gaps in anaphylaxis knowledge, education, anaphylaxis management, and quality of life (QOL). Populations of interest were health care professionals involved in the care of patients at risk for anaphylaxis, and patients of any age, their parents, caregivers, and teachers in primary care, hospital or community settings. Of 5014 citations that were identified, the final 59 studies (selected from 75 full-text articles) met the inclusion criteria. Two hundred and two gaps were identified and classified according to major themes: gaps in knowledge and anaphylaxis management (physicians and patients); gaps in follow-up care (physicians); and QOL of patients and caregivers. Findings from this systematic review revealed gaps in anaphylaxis management at the level of physicians, patients, and the community. Findings will be used to provide a basis for developing interventional strategies to help address these deficiencies.