Knowledge of anaphylaxis among Emergency Department staff

Asia Pac Allergy. 2014 Jul;4(3):164-71. doi: 10.5415/apallergy.2014.4.3.164. Epub 2014 Jul 29.


Background: Anaphylaxis is an emergency condition that requires immediate, accurate diagnosis and appropriate management. However, little is known about the level of knowledge of doctors and nurses treating these patients in the Emergency Department.

Objective: To determine the knowledge of doctors and nurses in the Emergency Department on the recent definition and treatment recommendations of anaphylaxis.

Methods: We surveyed doctors and nurses of all grades in a tertiary Hospital Emergency Department using a standardized anonymous questionnaire.

Results: We had a total of 190 respondents-47 doctors and 143 nurses. The response rate was 79.7% for doctors and 75.3% for nurses. Ninety-seven point eight percent of the doctors and 83.7% of the nurses chose the accepted definition of anaphylaxis. High proportions of doctors (89-94%) and nurses (65-72%) diagnose anaphylaxis in the three scenarios demonstrating anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock. Forty-two point six percent of the doctors and 76.9% of the nurses incorrectly diagnosed single organ involvement without hypotension as anaphylaxis. As for treatment, 89.4% of the doctors indicated adrenaline as the drug of choice and 85.1% chose intramuscular route for adrenaline administration. Among the nurses, 40.3% indicated adrenaline as the drug of choice and 47.4% chose the intramuscular route for adrenaline.

Conclusion: High proportion of doctors and nurses are able to recognize the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, although there is a trend towards over diagnosis. There is good knowledge on drug of choice and the accepted route of adrenaline among the doctors. However, knowledge of treatment of anaphylaxis among nurses was moderate and can be improved.

Keywords: Anaphylaxis; Data collection; Emergency service, hospital; Health knowledge, attitudes, practice.