Pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of exercise-induced anaphylaxis

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Purpose of review

The aim of this review is to challenge the current opinions of the pathophysiological mechanisms that give rise to food dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (FDEIA) and to consider these mechanisms within the wider context of exercise physiology to further inform our understanding and treatment of this condition.

Recent findings

Exercise-induced anaphylaxis (food dependent and nonfood dependent) is a clinical syndrome in which anaphylaxis occurs in conjunction with exercise. Given the rarity of the condition, our current understanding relies on the many case studies and reviews of the topic. The pathophysiology of FDEIA remains to be fully elucidated with well constructed trials but current working hypotheses to date involve alterations in plasma osmolaltiy and pH, tissue enzyme activity, blood flow redistribution, altered gastrointestinal permeability and facilitated epitope recognition/allergen binding.


Implications for future research are the physiological changes that occur during exercise need deeper consideration to ensure that proposed mechanisms are realistic and actually occur within the time frame and exercise-intensity domain during which the reported FDEIA occurred. These theories must be tested rigorously with sufficiently powered studies if progress is to be made in determining the perplexing pathophysiology of FDEIA.

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