Usefulness and limitations of sequential serum tryptase for the diagnosis of anaphylaxis in 102 patients

Anna Sala-Cunill, Victoria Cardona, Moises Labrador-Horrillo, Olga Luengo, Olga Esteso, Teresa Garriga, Maria Vicario, Mar Guilarte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)


Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel. Background: The diagnosis of anaphylaxis is based on clinical history since no reliable biological marker is currently available to confirm the diagnosis. Objective: It was the aim of this study to determine sequential serum tryptase concentrations during anaphylaxis and to evaluate its potential as a diagnostic marker. Methods: We performed a prospective study including patients with acute anaphylaxis (according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease/Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network criteria) attending the emergency department. Demographic characteristics, anaphylactic triggers, specific risk factors, clinical characteristics and management of anaphylaxis were recorded. Serum tryptase was measured at 1-2 h (T1), 4-6 h (T2) and 12-24 h (T3) following onset of the episode and at basal conditions (TB). Results: A total of 102 patients were included (63 females, mean age 47.4 ± 19.1 years). Tryptase concentration at T1 (19.3 ± 15.4 μg/l) was significantly higher than at T2, T3 and TB (all <11.4 μg/l; p < 0.0001). Importantly, tryptase was not raised in 36.3% of cases; furthermore, in 60.6% of these patients, no changes were observed in tryptase levels comparing T1 and TB (ΔT1-TB = 0). Tryptase was more frequently elevated in more severe anaphylaxis (p < 0.0001) and positively correlated with the grades of severity (p < 0.001, r = 0.49). Anaphylaxis was more severe and tryptase concentration higher when the causative agent was a drug compared to food, both at T1 (p = 0.045) and at TB (p = 0.019). Age and coronary risk factors were associated with more severe anaphylaxis (p = 0.001). Conclusion: Tryptase is a biomarker related to the severity of anaphylaxis. However, since its concentration remains unaltered in a considerable number of patients during acute anaphylaxis, there is a need for more reliable diagnostic biological tests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-199
JournalInternational Archives of Allergy and Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Adrenaline
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Drug allergy
  • Emergency
  • Epinephrine
  • Food allergy
  • Mast cell
  • Tryptase


Dive into the research topics of 'Usefulness and limitations of sequential serum tryptase for the diagnosis of anaphylaxis in 102 patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this