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Papers of the Week

Papers: 16 Mar 2024 - 22 Mar 2024

2024 Mar 16

J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract


Beyond Confirmed Mast Cell Activation Syndrome: Approaching Patients with Dysautonomia and Related Conditions.


Conway AE, Verdi M, Shaker MS, Bernstein JA, Beamish CC, Morse R, Madan J, Lee MW, Sussman G, Al-Nimr A, Hand M, Albert DA


Allergist-immunologists face significant challenges as experts in an ever-evolving field of neuroimmunology. Among these challenges is the increasingly frequent need to counsel patients with suspected mast cell-activation disorders about perceived comorbidities, which may include hypermobile Ehlers Danlos syndrome, amplified pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, burning sensation syndromes, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Patients may experience comorbid anxiety, panic disorder and depression associated with disturbed sleep, fatigue, and cognitive impairment that often worsen when their physical symptoms increase in severity. These conditions may mimic mast cell activation disorders and are emotionally taxing for patients and clinicians, as they are often accompanied by vague diagnostic courses, perceived unmanageability, social stigma, and significant impairment in quality of life. Combined with relatively poorly researched therapies, it is no surprise that clinicians may feel overwhelmed or find it difficult to provide consistently compassionate care for this population. In this article we review available therapies for these conditions, which run the gamut from physical therapy to antidepressants to multimodal pain control. We highlight the benefit of multidisciplinary care within the primary care home which includes an important role by the allergist-immunologist. By outlining simple approaches to initial treatment, we hope to empower clinicians with the tools needed to curb emotional burnout and embrace this patient population with compassion.