What investigation after an anaphylactic reaction during anaesthesia?

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Purpose of review

Anaphylactic reactions occurring during anaesthesia may be life threatening. Lethal issues may be involved in up to 3–10% of the cases. The allergological assessment (including biochemical tests and skin tests) is the key to the management of these reactions. The scope of this review is to focus on the allergological assessment required to prove the immune mechanism, to identify the culprit drug or substance and the cross-reactive molecules, especially for neuromuscular blocking agents, allowing preventive measures for future anaesthetic procedures.

Recent findings

To describe the allergological assessment (including biochemical tests and skin tests performed according to the current guidelines) in order to prove the immune mechanism as the responsibility of the culprit allergen. The most frequent and less frequent drugs involved are described. The different biological tools available are detailed. To ensure an accurate diagnosis, the interpretation of the allergological assessment should be linked to the description of the clinical events as their time onset following the injection/administration of the suspected drug(s)/substance.


To describe the different tools (biochemical tests and skin tests) available in order to prove the diagnosis of an anaphylactic reaction occurring during anaesthesia.

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