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Aspirin allergy misdiagnosis may be common in cardiac patients

Cardiac patients in New Mexico may have been told that they are allergic to aspirin and cannot use it as a treatment, but according to a new study, they might not be allergic after all. At the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting, researchers presented the results of a study that showed that while only 2.5 percent of the 5,052 patients studied had aspirin hypersensitivity, 34 percent were told they had the condition.

According to the researchers, patients were diagnosed based on any past gastrointestinal symptoms and not on visits to an allergist. None of the patients diagnosed with hypersensitivity were diagnosed by an allergist. One patient had an anaphylactic reaction and one had a respiratory reaction. Another 19 percent had skin reactions, but reactions were not properly documented for 39 percent of the patients.

Researchers say it is important that the allergy be properly diagnosed because otherwise patients are told to discontinue an effective treatment. Furthermore, allergists can help identify whether a true allergy exists or simply a hypersensitivity to aspirin, and if the latter is the case, the allergist can assist in symptom management.

Individuals who are misdiagnosed like this may face delayed treatment, or they might have to switch to a less effective treatment based on the erroneous diagnosis. The patient might suffer a heart attack that would not have happened had the patient continued on aspirin. People who learn that they or a loved one has been given a wrong diagnosis about an allergy or another medical condition which results in harm may wish to consult a medical malpractice attorney to determine the legal remedies that may be available for seeking compensation for the resulting damages.

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