Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard

CPD Hours: 1.5
Current as at 23 February 2022
Acute Anaphylaxis is defined as “a serious systemic hypersensitivity reaction that is usually rapid in onset and may cause death. Severe anaphylaxis is characterized by potentially life-threatening compromise in airway, breathing and/or the circulation, and may occur without typical skin features or circulatory shock being present”.

Tags:

“Review your knowledge of the Standard for Management of Acute Anaphylaxis”

Course Content

People with food and medicine allergies are particularly vulnerable and, as described in the NSQHS Comprehensive Care Standard, should receive targeted strategies to prevent harm during their healthcare encounters.

The World Allergy Organisation (WAO) defines anaphylaxis as “a serious systemic hypersensitivity reaction that is usually rapid in onset and may cause death. Severe anaphylaxis is characterized by potentially life-threatening compromise in the airway, breathing and/or the circulation, and may occur without typical skin features or circulatory shock being present”.

Anaphylaxis, therefore, lies along a spectrum of severity, ranging from mild objective breathing problems (such as mild wheezing) to circulatory “shock” and/or collapse (“anaphylactic shock”).

International guidelines concur that the first-line treatment of anaphylaxis is intramuscular (IM) adrenaline, but there is increasing divergence between published guidelines. This may be due to a lack of high-certainty evidence to support treatment recommendations. Given the difficulties of undertaking randomised controlled trials in the management of a potentially life-threatening condition, guidelines must therefore be based on the best available research evidence, theory and expert consensus.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has developed a set of indicators to support healthcare providers and local health service organisations to monitor how well they implement the care described in this clinical care standard. The indicators are a tool to support local quality improvement activities. The Commission aimed to improve the recognition of anaphylaxis, and the provision of appropriate treatment and follow‑up care. At the same time, this clinical care standard aligns with key principles that are the foundation for achieving safe, high‑quality care including person-centred care and shared decision making, informed consent, and cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Adrenaline (epinephrine) is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis as it causes vasoconstriction and bronchodilation, preventing and relieving airway oedema, hypotension and shock. It also decreases mediator release, making it the only medicine that reduces the amplification of an allergic response.

Learning Outcomes

In this session, you will:

  • Review your knowledge of the Standard for Management of Acute Anaphylaxis
  • Develop an understanding on how to use this Standard
  • Recognize what steps to take in management of anaphylaxis
  • Compare the responsibilities of the clinicians with those of the health service organisation
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