Methods: Data over a 6-year period (2008-2013) was obtained from the Korean National Health Insurance (NHI) claims database. Using ICD-10 diagnostic codes (T78.0, T78.2, T80.5, T88.6), the annual number of patients that had either visited outpatient/emergency departments or had been admitted for a primary diagnosis of anaphylaxis were identified. Incidence rates were estimated using the population distribution data of NHI beneficiaries provided annually by the NHI Service.
Results: Of a total 59,720 cases identified, the majority of cases were unspecified anaphylaxis (T78.2, 81.4%), followed by anaphylaxis induced by food (T78.0, 11.1%), drug (T88.6, 7.1%), and serum (T80.5, 0.4%). The incidence rate of anaphylaxis during the study period was 20.27 cases per 100,000 PY (95% CI, 20.11-20.43). Incidence in males was significantly higher than that in females (21.88 vs. 18.64 per 100,000 PY, p<0.0001). An increasing trend of annual incidence rates was observed, from 16.02 cases in 2008 to 25.08 cases per 100,000 PY in 2013 (8.6% annual increase, p<0.01). Age-specific incidence rates also showed a gradual increase, starting in the 0-19 year age group with a rate of 10.72 cases per 100,000 PY, and peaking in the 50-69 age group with 33.40 cases per 100,000 PY.
Conclusions: This is the first nationwide epidemiologic study of anaphylaxis in the Republic of Korea. The incidence rate of anaphylaxis was found to rise annually, following a worldwide trend. Higher incidence rates were observed in males and older age groups. Further studies on factors accountable for this heightened incidence of anaphylaxis are needed.