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Children with Food Allergy: What's the Risk for Fatal Anaphylaxis?

Summary and Comment |
January 7, 2014

Children with Food Allergy: What's the Risk for Fatal Anaphylaxis?

  1. Martin T. Stein, MD

Risk for fatal anaphylaxis in food-allergic children is more than 10 times lower than the risk for accidental death in the general population.

  1. Martin T. Stein, MD

Food allergy affects up to 10% of children and is the most frequent cause of anaphylaxis. Persistent fear of a food-related anaphylactic reaction (especially to peanuts) is associated with parental anxiety and lower quality of life. Researchers examined the risk for fatal food-related anaphylaxis in a meta-analysis of 13 international registry, database, or cohort studies.

During an estimated 165 million food-allergic person-years, 240 deaths from food anaphylaxis were reported. In food-allergic people of all ages, the incidence rate of fatal food anaphylaxis was 1.81 per million person-years. Among children and adolescents, the incidence rate was 3.25 per million person-years (10 studies), and 2.13 per million person-years for peanut allergy (7 studies). In four studies that recorded nonfatal food anaphylaxis rates in the same population and time period, fatality rates ranged from 33% of patients admitted to an intensive care unit to 0.14% of patients admitted to a hospital. The authors calculated that the incidence of fatal food anaphylaxis in a food-allergic person is ≥100 times lower than the incidence of accidental death in the general population. Incidence is ≥10 times lower in food-allergic children and adolescents aged 0–19 years.

Comment

The authors note the possibility that specific groups of food-allergic people have higher incidences of fatal food anaphylaxis, but these patients have not been identified in clinical practice. The finding that the rate of fatal food anaphylaxis in food-allergic children is lower than the rate of accidental death might be reassuring to parents who are anxious about their child developing a severe allergic reaction to a food. Pediatricians can use the results to allay excessive fear among parents of food-allergic children.

  • Disclosures for Martin T. Stein, MD at time of publication Consultant / advisory board BioBehavioral Diagnostics; OptumRx Speaker’s bureau Indiana University; Michigan State University; University of Wisconsin Grant / research support Eli-Lilly Editorial boards Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Citation(s):

Reader Comments (3)

George Cavalcante, MD, pHD Physician, Pulmonary Medicine, Universidade Federal do Ceara-Brazil

This is an important information. It is very frequent to see teenagers and their patrents extremely anxious of death risk from food allergy.

Nathalie

Intéressant

D.Sudhakar MBBS, DCH Physician, Pediatrics/Adolescent Medicine, Shreyas Polyclinic

The extremely low incidence of anaphylaxis due to food allergy may be due to the vigilant parents.

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