September 22, 2014
Mayo Clinic Study Shows that Allergists Improve Patient Care
Patients referred to Allergist/Immunologists by Emergency Dept. Have Better Outcomes, Identified Triggers and Surprising Diagnoses
MILWAUKEE, WI – According to a Mayo Clinic study, a visit to an allergist / immunologist can significantly improve patient care following emergency department (ED) referrals. Health records for 573 emergency department patients who had met anaphylaxis diagnostic criteria were reviewed. The researchers found that, among the 217 patients who followed up with an allergist / immunologist, 35 percent of those patients had an alteration in the diagnosis or suspected trigger after allergy / immunology follow up.
The article was published on September 22, 2014 in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, an official journal of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).
“The allergist has the expertise to obtain a detailed allergy history, coordinate laboratory and allergy testing, evaluate the benefits and risks of therapeutic options and counsel the patient on avoidance measures,” the author Ronna L. Campbell, MD, PhD, explained in the paper.
Although physician guidelines for anaphylaxis currently recommend follow up with an allergist / immunologist following an ED visit, low rates of documented allergy / immunology referrals have been demonstrated in multiple studies and actual follow up rates are largely unknown.
For example, among 573 ED patients who met anaphylaxis diagnostic criteria only 217 (38 percent) had a documented follow up visit with an allergy-immunology specialist. Yet of those 217, a total of 77 patients (35 percent) had an alteration in the diagnosis of anaphylaxis or trigger after allergy / immunology evaluation.
Outcomes varied for these patients: 16 had anaphylaxis ruled out; 24 had an unknown trigger identified; 28 ruled out ED suspected triggers while another 9 had a new triggers identified in a category other than what was suspected in the ED; four patients were diagnosed with a different immunological disorder, mast cell activation disorder.
Moreover, 13 patients included in the study underwent immunotherapy or desensitization treatments to achieve a better quality of life.
“These results underscore the importance of allergy / immunology follow up after an ED visit for anaphylaxis,” Campbell said in the report.
More information on anaphylaxis and allergies is available at the AAAAI website. The full study can be accessed through the JACI: In Practice.
The AAAAI represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has more than 6,800 members in the United States, Canada and 72 other countries. The AAAAI’s Find an Allergist / Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help you find a specialist close to home.