Unifying Concepts

Clinical Features of Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis can present with a spectrum of signs and symptoms affecting multiple organ systems, including the skin, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, nervous system, and both the upper and lower respiratory tracts; hallmarks of anaphylaxis are the development of hypotension or the involvement of more than one organ system.

Clinical Features of Anaphylaxis

Organ System Signs and Symptoms
Nervous system Feeling of doom, weakness, headache, dizziness, and seizure
Eyes, nose, and mouth Pruritus, angioedema, rhinitis, lacrimation, and metallic taste
Respiratory system Hoarseness and difficulty swallowing, asthma symptoms, asphyxia, and cyanosis
Cardiovascular system Tachycardia, arrhythmia, hypotension, myocardial infarction, and cardiac arrest
Gastrointestinal system Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and cramping, and diarrhea
Cutaneous system Pruritus, flushing, urticaria, and angioedema



  1. Brown SG, Stone SF, Fatovich DM, Burrows SA, Holdgate A, Celenza A, Coulson A, Hartnett L, Nagree Y, Cotterell C, Isbister GK. Anaphylaxis: clinical patterns, mediator release, and severity. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2013 Nov;132(5):1141-1149. [Medline]
  2. Simons FE, Ardusso LR, Bilò MB, El-Gamal YM, Ledford DK, Ring J, Sanchez-Borges M, Senna GE, Sheikh A, Thong BY; World Allergy Organization. World allergy organization guidelines for the assessment and management of anaphylaxis. World Allergy Organ J. 2011 Feb;4(2):13-37. [Medline]


Created Apr 10, 2014.

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