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Does anaphylaxis masquerade as asthma in children?
  1. N Sargant1,
  2. M Erlewyn-Lajeunesse2,
  3. J Benger3
  1. 1Children's Emergency Department, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, University Hospitals Bristol, Bristol, UK
  2. 2Children's Allergy Clinic, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
  3. 3Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nicholas Sargant, Children's Emergency Department, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, Upper Maudlin Street, Bristol BS2 8BJ, UK; nicholas.sargant{at}


Anaphylaxis in children presents most frequently with respiratory features, and concern exists about the potential for diagnostic confusion with acute asthma. 84 cases of asthma requiring intensive care were identified. 11 cases met exclusion criteria, which left 73 cases for analysis using established anaphylaxis diagnostic criteria. 13/73 children (17.8%) were found to have sufficient clinical features for a diagnosis of anaphylaxis to be entertained, with 3/73 cases (4.1%) considered highly likely to be anaphylaxis. This study highlights the potential for diagnostic confusion and demonstrates the need to consider anaphylaxis in all children presenting with severe asthma.

  • anaphylaxis/allergy
  • asthma
  • paediatrics, paediatric emergency medicine

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