Hereditary angioedema with a de novo mutation of exon 8 in the C1 inhibitor gene showing recurrent edema of the hands around the peripheral joints: importance for the differential diagnosis of joint swelling

E Sugiyama, T Ozawa, H Taki, M Maruyama, N Yamashita, M Ohta, M Hirata, M Kobayashi
Arthritis and Rheumatism 2001, 44 (4): 974-7
We describe a patient with hereditary angioedema (HAE), showing recurrent edema around the peripheral joints. Her symptoms began at the age of 18 with hand swelling distal to the wrist joints. Until she was referred to our hospital 3 years after her initial symptoms, she was still undiagnosed, although she was suspected of having rheumatoid arthritis. Laboratory examination showed reduced levels of CH50 and C4 with normal C3 levels. The C1 inhibitor (C1-INH) was decreased to 5 mg/ml, with remarkably reduced activity. Although these findings were compatible with a diagnosis of HAE, there were no episodes of skin edema in her family. To establish the diagnosis, we carried out DNA analysis of the C1-INH gene, which revealed a newly identified de novo mutation of G to A at nucleotide 16869 in exon 8. As described in this patient, localized edema around the peripheral joints may be the only manifestation of HAE. HAE should therefore be taken into consideration for the differential diagnosis of joint swelling.

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