Identifying Anaphylaxis As A Trigger

So, how might you identify which patients in cardiac arrest, or near cardiac arrest have anaphylaxis as the likely trigger?

Do especially consider anaphylaxis when your cardiac arrest patient is young.

Anaphylaxis is likely when:

  • Your patient has been exposed to a known allergen — is he or she wearing a Medic-Alert bracelet?
  • The onset of life-threatening airway or breathing or circulatory problems (more typically a combination) has been sudden, with rapid progression — minutes, not hours
  • Urticaria and/or angioedema are present – look for skin changes

The original cardiac arrest rhythm is likely to be PEA, though there are of course many other causes of this rhythm.


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