Anaphylaxis and cardiovascular diseases: a dangerous liaison

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening event in which the cardiovascular system is responsible for the majority of clinical symptoms and for potentially fatal outcome. This review summarizes the most recent clinical and experimental data on cardiovascular involvement during anaphylaxis.

Recent findings

Great efforts have been made in the last few years to understand the pathophysiology of anaphylactic reaction and to provide better identification of risk factors for the development of this reaction. Coronary blood flow can be impaired during anaphylaxis, which may significantly contribute to an unfavourable outcome. Also, preexisting coronary artery disease is a negative prognostic factor for anaphylaxis. In addition, acute ischemic events, including angina and myocardial infarction, are currently considered as part of the clinical picture of anaphylaxis. Moreover, cardiac emergency can be the presenting clinical picture of mast cell-related disorders.

Summary

Both cardiovascular and allergic diseases are frequent among populations. A better understanding of the mechanisms leading to cardiac mast cell activation and the effects of mast cell mediators on cardiovascular system can help improve the prevention and treatment of anaphylaxis.

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