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Anaphylactic Deaths in Asthmatic Patients

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We reviewed seven documented deaths to peanuts and two near deaths. We excluded hearsay undocumented deaths to peanuts. Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies and probably the most common cause of death by food anaphylaxis in the United States. About one-third of peanut-sensitive patients have severe reactions to peanuts. Asthmatics with peanut sensitivity appear more likely to develop fatal reactions probably because of the exquisite sensitivity that asthamatics have to chemical mediators of anaphylaxis. Severe reactions occur within a few minutes of ingestion and these patients must carry preloaded epinephrine syringes, antihistamines, and medic-alert bracelets. Treatment should include repeated doses of epinephrine, antihistamines and corticosteroids as well as availability of oxygen, mechanical methods to open airways, vasopressors, and intravenous fluids. Hidden sources of peanuts such as chili, egg rolls, cookies, candy, and pastry should be recognized and identified. Scratch/prick test to peanuts are highly diagnostic. Peanut is one of the most sensitive food allergens known requiring only a few milligrams to cause a reaction. In some individuals, even contact of peanut with unbroken skin can cause an immediate local reaction. Unfortunately, peanut reaction is not outgrown and remains a life-long threat.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1989-07-01

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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