A retrospective audit of adult and paediatric anaphylaxis management from two Australian metropolitan mixed emergency departments

A. Thomas, J. Delic, P. Hudson, M. Batchelor, H. Johannsen, L. E. Grzeskowiak

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Background: Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, with presentations to emergency departments (EDs) increasing across Australia. Understanding the features of those presenting with anaphylaxis and aspects related to its optimal clinical management across the admission, treatment and discharge settings is needed to minimise its impact. We aimed to evaluate the nature and management of presentations related to anaphylaxis across two Australian EDs. Methods: Retrospective audit of paediatric and adult patients presenting to a community or tertiary level ED with anaphylaxis from 1 May 2018 to 30 April 2019. Data extracted from medical records included demographic characteristics, causative agents, clinical features, treatments administered across community, ambulance or ED settings, as well as post-discharge care arrangements including provision of Adrenaline Auto-Injector (AAI) and Allergy/Anaphylaxis Action Plan (AAP). Results: A total of 369 (107 paediatric and 262 adult) ED presentations were identified. A total of 94 (36%) adult and 46 (43%) paediatric patients received pre-hospital adrenaline, with a further 91 (35%) adult and 29 (27%) paediatric patients receiving a dose of adrenaline in the ED. The most commonly administered treatment in ED were corticosteroids, given to 157 (60%) adult and 55 (51%) paediatric patients. Among those requiring an AAI for discharge, 123/210 (59%) adult and 57/91 (63%) of paediatric patients left hospital with an AAI. In contrast, among those requiring an allergy/anaphylaxis action plan (AAP) on discharge, 61/206 (30%) adult and 30/90 (33%) of paediatric patients left hospital with one. Factors associated with an increased likelihood of receiving AAI on discharge in paediatric and adult patients included receipt of any adrenaline, receipt of two or more doses of adrenaline, and longer duration of hospital stay. Adults presenting within business hours were more likely to be discharged with AAI, but no such difference was observed for paediatric patients. Similar findings were evident for provision of AAP on discharge. Conclusion: These findings demonstrate the need to improve assessment and treatment in the ED. In particular, the observed large variability in provision of AAI and AAP on discharge presents opportunities to explore strategies to improve awareness and provision of these critical components of post-discharge care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number67
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024


  • Allergy
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Emergency department
  • Immunology


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