Prospective Validation of the NIAID/FAAN Criteria for Emergency Department Diagnosis of Anaphylaxis

Caitlin E. Loprinzi Brauer, Megan S. Motosue, James T. Li, John B. Hagan, M. Fernanda Bellolio, Sangil Lee, Ronna L. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background Anaphylaxis diagnostic criteria were proposed at the Second Symposium on the Definition and Management of Anaphylaxis. These criteria were 97% sensitive and 82% specific when retrospectively validated. Objective To prospectively evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (NIAID/FAAN) criteria for diagnosis of anaphylaxis in the emergency department (ED). Methods We conducted a prospective observational study of patients seen in our institution's ED from April 2010 to March 2013. Patients seeking care for an allergic reaction and possible anaphylaxis were enrolled. Patients and providers completed questionnaires regarding onset, trigger, and signs and symptoms. Records were reviewed independently and blindly by 2 board-certified allergist-immunologists, and their final diagnosis (anaphylaxis vs no anaphylaxis) was used as the reference standard. Two-by-two tables were built, and test characteristics were calculated. Results Among the 174 enrolled patients, 91 (52%) met the NIAID/FAAN criteria for anaphylaxis. The allergist-immunologists diagnosed 61 cases of anaphylaxis (35%), of which 58 (95%) also satisfied the NIAID/FAAN criteria. The interrater agreement between allergist-immunologists was substantial (κ = 0.7). Test characteristics (95% CIs) of the NIAID/FAAN criteria were as follows: sensitivity, 95.1% (85.4%-98.7%); specificity, 70.8% (61.4%-78.8%); positive predictive value, 63.7% (52.9%-73.4%); negative predictive value, 96.4% (89.1%-99.1%); positive likelihood ratio, 3.26; and negative likelihood ratio, 0.07. Conclusions Prospectively, the NIAID/FAAN criteria continued to be highly sensitive (95%) but had lower specificity (71%) than on retrospective assessment. These criteria are likely to be useful for the diagnosis of anaphylaxis in the ED.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1220-1226
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Anaphylaxis
  • Diagnostic criteria
  • Test characteristics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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