OPEN Critical care (London, England) | 4 Jun 2015
HY van der Weide, DJ van Westerloo and WM van den Bergh
Since the critical care physician will most likely be involved in a life-threatening expression of systemic mastocytosis, recognition of this disease is of utmost importance in the critical care management of these patients. Mastocytosis is a severely under-recognized disease because it typically occurs secondary to another condition and thus may occur more frequently than assumed. In this article, we will review the current knowledge on the treatment of mastocytosis crises with an emphasis on critical care management. Mastocytosis is characterized by the clonal proliferation and accumulation of mast cells in different tissues. Mast cell mediators contain a wide range of biologically active substances that may lead to itching and hives but may ultimately lead to anaphylactic shock caused by the release of histamine and other mediators from mast cells. The mainstay of therapy is the avoidance of potential triggers of mast cell degranulation and, if unsuccessful, blocking the cascade of mast cell mediators. The critical care physician should be well aware of the special precautions which should be kept in mind throughout the management of a mastocytosis crisis to avoid massive mast cell degranulation. Histamine-releasing drugs and certain physical triggers like temperature change should be avoided.
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