Allergic reactions during anesthesia.
Any drug or blood product administered in the perioperative period has the potential to produce a life-threatening allergic (immune reaction) called anaphylaxis. Anaphylactic reactions represent adverse reactions mediated by immunospecific antibodies (IgE and IgG) that interact with mast cells, basophils, or the complement system to liberate vasoactive mediators and recruit other inflammatory cells. Activation of humoral and cellular pathways produces characteristic responses in the respiratory (bronchospasm and upper airway edema), cardiovascular (vasodilation and increased capillary permeability), and cutaneous systems (wheal and flare). Other predictable adverse drug reactions may mimic anaphylaxis to produce similar physiologic consequences independent of allergy (immune responses). Rapid and timely cardiopulmonary intervention with airway maintenance, epinephrine, and volume expansion is essential to avoid an adverse outcome. Severe reactions may be protracted, especially during anesthesia, requiring even larger doses of catecholamines and intensive care observation.
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