Perioperative anaphylaxis

Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2014 Aug;14(8):452. doi: 10.1007/s11882-014-0452-6.


Perioperative anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition with an estimated prevalence of 1:3,500 to 1:20,000 procedures and a mortality rate of up to 9 %. Clinical presentation involves signs such as skin rash, urticaria, angioedema, bronchospasm, tachycardia, bradycardia, and hypotension. Prompt recognition and treatment is of utmost importance to the patient's prognosis, since clinical deterioration can develop rapidly. Epinephrine is the main treatment drug, and its use should not be postponed, since delayed administration is associated with increased mortality. Elevated levels of serum tryptase help to confirm the diagnosis. The main agents involved in IgE-mediated perioperative anaphylaxis are neuromuscular blocking agents, latex, antibiotics, hypnotics, opioids, and colloids. Specific investigation should be conducted 4 to 6 weeks after the reaction and relies on skin tests, serum-specific IgE, and challenge procedures. This review aims to discuss the main aspects of perioperative anaphylaxis: risk factors, diagnosis, treatment, culprit agents, specific investigation, and preventive measures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anaphylaxis / diagnosis
  • Anaphylaxis / immunology*
  • Anaphylaxis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Perioperative Care
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Tests / adverse effects
  • Tryptases / blood


  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Tryptases