Fatal Anaphylaxis: Epidemiology and Risk Factors

Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2021 Apr 7;21(4):28. doi: 10.1007/s11882-021-01006-x.


Purpose of review: To provide clinicians with an understanding of risk factors associated with fatal anaphylaxis, and to promote individualized management plans with patients based upon key aspects of their clinical history.

Recent findings: While anaphylaxis can affect a significant percentage of the general population, death from anaphylaxis remains a rare outcome. The presence of asthma and peanut or tree nut allergy is associated with higher risk for severe or fatal anaphylaxis from foods. Specific triggers (medications, venom), underlying comorbid conditions, age, and use of some medications can also impact risk and warrant different counseling and management strategies. Anaphylaxis is a rapidly progressive systemic reaction with multiple different causes and encompasses a wide degree of severity in clinical presentation and risk for future episodes. Individualized management, discussion of risk, and shared decision making should occur with each patient and in consideration of their personal risk factors.

Keywords: Anaphylaxis; Drug allergy; Epinephrine; Food allergy; Shared decision making; Venom allergy.

Publication types

  • Review