Life-Threatening Allergy – An Homage to Von Pirquet
Epidemiology of Anaphylaxis
Aziz Sheikh, BSc, MBBS, MSc, MD, MRCP, DCH, DRCOG, DFFP, FRCGP
The University of Edinburgh
Aziz Sheikh is Professor of Primary Care Research and Development, Department of General Practice, University of Edinburgh. Prof. Sheikh is a member of the Working Party on Epidemiology of Anaphylaxis of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, and a member of the British Thoracic Society Research Committee. He holds a Masters degree in Epidemiology. Prof. Sheikh’s research interests include evaluating the clinical effectiveness of established and new treatments for use in primary care, and investigating the epidemiology and clinical management of asthma and other allergic disorders.
Characterizing the epidemiology of conditions is difficult in the absence of clearly defined and agreed diagnostic criteria; it is also challenging for conditions that are uncommon and where clinical features are short-lived. Each of these three considerations applies to anaphylaxis, this to a large extent explaining why progress in describing the epidemiology of anaphylaxis has been so slow. But despite the inherent challenges in studying anaphylaxis, there have been a number of important studies published over the last decade, in particular from Europe, North America, and Australasia, which have employed a range of innovative methodological approaches to progressing understanding of this potentially fatal disorder. This paper will summarize some of the key studies conducted to-date, critically appraise their strengths and limitations, and reflect on the clinical implications of their findings.
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