Background There is a lack of data relating to frequency and presentation of anaphylaxis to the ambulance service in England. Little research exists relating to the patients’ self-treatment of anaphylaxis and there is an absence of evidence to evaluate the impact of self-administered adrenaline, there is a need to describe this patient group to evaluate any potential to develop their care.
Methods Retrospective data were collected from the electronic patient records of a single NHS ambulance service serving a population of approximately four million. Records between 1stApril 2017 and 31st March 2018 were included where a diagnosis of anaphylaxis was recorded. Gender, age, incident location, allergy history, were summarised to identify any trends in presentation. The frequency of patient self-administration, as well as ambulance administration, of adrenaline was also included for analysis to determine any correlation.
Results 326 records were included in the analysis. The mean, median and modal patient ages were 34, 29 and 20 respectively. Patient ages ranged from six months to 95 years. Patients were 65% female, 35% male and 59% of incidents occurred at home. 76% of patients reported having a known allergy with food being the most common allergen (44%). Peak times for calling 999 were midday and 6pm. 35% of patients had self-administered adrenaline. 52% received ambulance-administered adrenaline. The doses of self-administered adrenaline ranged from 0–3 doses and ambulance administered adrenaline ranged from 0–8 doses. Patients who self-administered adrenaline were less likely to receive further adrenaline from the ambulance service. No correlation was found between the number of self-administered doses and ambulance administered doses.
Conclusion Patient demographics such as age, gender and allergies were consistent with two previous small-scale studies. This study suggests that early self-administration of adrenaline is beneficial. Opportunities for improvements in data recording as well as patient education were identified.
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