Epinephrine Often Not Considered by Emergency Rooms, study says

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A new study has found that many emergency rooms are ill-trained for severe allergic reactions and often do not administer epinephrine injections when they should. This often leads to incorrect procedures and more invasive measures for patients suffering from anaphylaxis, the study found.

Up to 80 percent of the time, the researchers said, an ER will treat someone experience anaphylaxis without epinephrine. Despite recommendations that it be the go-to option. Doctors often associate epinephrine with treatment of cardiac arrest, some say, which may lead to confusion about its other prominent use. Most ER doctors deal with heart attacks far more often than they do asthma and allergies.

On Tuesday, a joint task force of allergists from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) published guidelines for emergency room treatment of allergic reactions. The guidelines were published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (read them here).

The guidelines are based on a review of previous studies documenting epinephrine use in the emergency department. A further goal of the guide is to make sure emergency department staff refer people who have had a severe reaction for appropriate follow-up care.

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