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Many Radiologists Fall Short on Allergic-Reaction Response

Last Updated: June 04, 2009.

Many radiologists may have an insufficient knowledge of the use of epinephrine for dealing with severe contrast material-induced allergic reactions, according to research published in the June issue of Radiology.

THURSDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- Many radiologists may have an insufficient knowledge of the use of epinephrine for dealing with severe contrast material-induced allergic reactions, according to research published in the June issue of Radiology.

Christopher B. Lightfoot, M.D., of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, and colleagues analyzed data from a survey of 253 radiologists in university-affiliated radiology departments in the United States and Canada. Subjects were asked to respond to a hypothetical case of severe contrast material-induced allergic reaction. Rapid intramuscular epinephrine is the treatment of choice in such cases.

The researchers found that 91 percent listed epinephrine as the most important first medication. None gave the ideal dose and administration route, but 41 percent listed an acceptable administration route, concentration, and dose; 17 percent, however, provided an overdose. Just 11 percent knew what concentration of epinephrine was in their drug kit or crash cart, as well as the equipment that would be required to give it to a patient.

"We strongly recommend the combination of education and placing epinephrine autoinjectors in all departments or clinics administering intravenous contrast agents will help save lives. We suggest that these devices be readily visible and within easy reach, wall- or gantry-mounted, for use when the need arises," the authors conclude.

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