Funding to minimize future deaths from Anaphylaxis

BSACI in collaboration with the Food Standards Agency is supporting the UK Fatal Anaphylaxis Registry (UKFAR) held at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT). This important work allows analysis of fatal anaphylaxis cases. The data informs trends and helps develop better understanding of the risks and causes of fatal anaphylaxis, which will ultimately provide knowledge to reduce the risk of future deaths.

The UK Fatal Anaphylaxis Register (UKFAR) was set up by Dr Richard Pumphrey in 1992 to collect and analyse data on anaphylactic deaths, facilitating identification of patterns. Dr Vibha Sharma, Consultant in Paediatric Allergy at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and custodian of the registry, welcomes the support from FSA and BSACI for this National register. She explains “Our existing understanding of why some allergic reactions are catastrophic leading to death, when many respond to treatment, is lacking. Fortunately, fatal anaphylactic reactions are rare. Each of these unfortunate events must undergo detailed scrutiny to help improve outcomes and avoid unnecessary deaths in the future”. 

A variety of reasons why auto-injectors have failed to rescue patients has emerged, but on-going case collection is essential in understanding how the management of those with anaphylaxis may be improved. This data helps understand whether those thought to have anaphylactic reactions do, and if so, the causes of anaphylaxis. Analysis of the data may identify reasons why treatment has been unsuccessful.  

Data suggests that there has been a year-on-year increase in admissions to intensive care following anaphylaxis. Accurate, comprehensive data on timing and trends of deaths from anaphylaxis is vital. Continuing to collect UK data is important to compare with trends in other countries and to add to the overall evidence.    

Professor Adam Fox, President of the BSACI has said, “Working with MFT on this UK Fatal Anaphylaxis Registry is hugely important and the BSACI are grateful to the Foods Standards Agency for supporting the UKFAR. This would ensure sustainability and aid engagement with the coronial system, which is one of the key agencies UKFAR relies on to provide details of all cases of suspected fatal anaphylaxis. This funding is a one-off grant, however long-term funding is needed to support the registry thereafter. There has been a lot of media coverage of fatal anaphylaxis recently which has brought to the fore the critical work of UKFAR.”  

Sushma Acharya, Head of Policy and Strategy for Food Hypersensitivity at the FSA said, “Food Hypersensitivity is a priority for the FSA and we are delighted to support the UK Fatal Anaphylaxis Register with this grant. The work of the Register will be important in helping us better understand the prevalence of anaphylaxis related deaths and our understanding of the risks and the causes, which could help reduce the risk of recurrence. This funding will help bring the Register up to date and stabilise it so ensuring that it remains an important resource to use in the future. Our support of this work, which forms part of our Food Hypersensitivity Programme, builds on the existing body of research work we have funded on food hypersensitivity including current work to use NHS data to monitor trends in severe allergic reactions.”