An Adolescent Girl With Signs and Symptoms of Anaphylaxis and Negative Immunologic Workup

A Case Report

Sarah Green; Allison Hicks; Chelsea Hilsendager; Maureen Bauer; Guido K. W. Frank


J Med Case Reports. 2020;14(49) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: The increasing incidence of allergies and allergic reactions among children and adults has become a major public health concern. The etiology of allergic reactions can often be confirmed based on a detailed history and supportive testing. However, there are cases where the underlying factors are more complex and difficult to identify.

Case presentation: Here we present the case report of a 14-year-old Caucasian girl with weight loss and a 3-year history of reported angioedema culminating in five intensive care unit admissions over the course of 2.5 months. Her initial clinical presentation included hypotension, dyspnea, and reported facial edema, but allergy and immunological workup were negative. A psychiatric workup identified an eating disorder with food restriction, comorbid major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. A close collaboration between Adolescent Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, and Psychiatry helped disentangle medical from psychiatric problems, including fluoxetine medication effects, as well as develop a treatment plan that was acceptable to the family. The angioedema was ultimately diagnosed as factitious disorder.

Conclusions: This patient's treatment highlights the importance of a multidisciplinary team approach, a multifactorial etiology that needed to be addressed by multiple specialists, and the importance of long-term treatment and support.