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Differential Diagnosis of the Patient with Unexplained Flushing/Anaphylaxis

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Abstract:

In unusual cases of flushing and anaphylaxis, and after the elimination of the more obvious causes of anaphylaxis or those that may be evaluated by readily available techniques, it is possible to confront a limited and difficult differential diagnosis, which includes idiopathic flushing, anaphylaxis, and neoplastic syndromes associated with mastocytosis and carcinoid tumor. Interestingly, there are rather few features that distinguish one of these possibilities from another. However, the presence of allergic signs and symptoms tend to favor the diagnosis of recurrent idiopathic anaphylaxis; and right-sided valvular heart disease, the presence of excessive 5-HIAA in the urine, and a response to somatostatin favor the diagnosis of carcinoid syndrome. The distinguishing features of mastocytosis include the presence of characteristic skin lesions and diagnostic histopathologic findings on bone marrow biopsy. Counts of absolute mast cell numbers in the skin are less helpful. Following such guidelines, it is often possible to focus on the most likely diagnosis, be it idiopathic anaphylaxis, benign cutaneous flushing, mastocytosis, or carcinoid tumor.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2500/108854100778249006

Publication date: January 1, 2000

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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