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Prospective Validation of the NIAID/FAAN Criteria for Emergency Department Diagnosis of Anaphylaxis.

BACKGROUND: Anaphylaxis diagnostic criteria were proposed at the Second Symposium on the Definition and Management of Anaphylaxis. These criteria were 97% sensitive and 82% specific when retrospectively validated.

OBJECTIVE: To prospectively evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (NIAID/FAAN) criteria for diagnosis of anaphylaxis in the emergency department (ED).

METHODS: We conducted a prospective observational study of patients seen in our institution's ED from April 2010 to March 2013. Patients seeking care for an allergic reaction and possible anaphylaxis were enrolled. Patients and providers completed questionnaires regarding onset, trigger, and signs and symptoms. Records were reviewed independently and blindly by 2 board-certified allergist-immunologists, and their final diagnosis (anaphylaxis vs no anaphylaxis) was used as the reference standard. Two-by-two tables were built, and test characteristics were calculated.

RESULTS: Among the 174 enrolled patients, 91 (52%) met the NIAID/FAAN criteria for anaphylaxis. The allergist-immunologists diagnosed 61 cases of anaphylaxis (35%), of which 58 (95%) also satisfied the NIAID/FAAN criteria. The interrater agreement between allergist-immunologists was substantial (κ = 0.7). Test characteristics (95% CIs) of the NIAID/FAAN criteria were as follows: sensitivity, 95.1% (85.4%-98.7%); specificity, 70.8% (61.4%-78.8%); positive predictive value, 63.7% (52.9%-73.4%); negative predictive value, 96.4% (89.1%-99.1%); positive likelihood ratio, 3.26; and negative likelihood ratio, 0.07.

CONCLUSIONS: Prospectively, the NIAID/FAAN criteria continued to be highly sensitive (95%) but had lower specificity (71%) than on retrospective assessment. These criteria are likely to be useful for the diagnosis of anaphylaxis in the ED.

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