Justified concern or exaggerated fear: the risk of anaphylaxis in percutaneous treatment of cystic echinococcosis-a systematic literature review

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2011 Jun;5(6):e1154. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001154. Epub 2011 Jun 14.


Percutaneous treatment (PT) emerged in the mid-1980s as an alternative to surgery for selected cases of abdominal cystic echinococcosis (CE). Despite its efficacy and widespread use, the puncture of echinococcal cysts is still far from being universally accepted. One of the main reasons for this reluctance is the perceived risk of anaphylaxis linked to PTs. To quantify the risk of anaphylactic reactions and lethal anaphylaxis with PT, we systematically searched MEDLINE for publications on PT of CE and reviewed the PT-related complications. After including 124 publications published between 1980 and 2010, we collected a total number of 5943 PT procedures on 5517 hepatic and non-hepatic echinococcal cysts. Overall, two cases of lethal anaphylaxis and 99 reversible anaphylactic reactions were reported. Lethal anaphylaxis occurred in 0.03% of PT procedures, corresponding to 0.04% of treated cysts, while reversible allergic reactions complicated 1.7% of PTs, corresponding to 1.8% of treated echinococcal cysts. Analysis of the literature shows that lethal anaphylaxis related to percutaneous treatment of CE is an extremely rare event and is observed no more frequently than drug-related anaphylactic side effects.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anaphylaxis / chemically induced*
  • Anaphylaxis / epidemiology*
  • Anaphylaxis / psychology
  • Echinococcosis / complications
  • Echinococcosis / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Risk Assessment*