[Therapeutic approach of hereditary angioedema]

Kélem de Nardi Chagas, Viviana Galimbert Arruk, Maria Elisa Bertocco Andrade, Dewton de Moraes Vasconcelos, Michael Kirschfink, Alberto José da Silva Duarte, Anete Sevciovic Grumach
Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira 2004, 50 (3): 314-9

PURPOSE: Hereditary Angioedema was first described by William Osler in 1888 and it is caused by a hereditary or acquired deficiency of C1 esterase inhibitor (C1-INH). Treatment is indicated for acute attacks or prophylaxis of angioedema which occur in the subcutaneous tissue respiratory or gastrointestinal tracts. Treatment includes attenuated androgens, inhibitors of kininogen or plasminogen, like tranexamic acid or e-aminocaproic acid and the administration of C1-INH concentrate. We describe the peculiarities of the treatment chosen for 10 patients (4 families) with HAE and their evolution.

METHODS: Ten patients (1-38 years old) with HAE were diagnosed by clinical history and laboratory evaluation. The following tests were performed for the complement system: C1-INH, C4 and C3 levels and hemolytic assay (CH50 and APH50) for the classic and alternative pathways. Treatment was initiated considering severity of symptoms, age, gender and therapeutic response of the patient.

RESULTS: Clinical evaluation showed: 4/10 patients with recurrent subcutaneous edema; 3/10 with previous laryngeal edema and 3/10 with sporadic symptoms. Different severity of symptoms was verified in the same family. The laboratory evaluation detected: low C1-INH levels (10/10); low serum C4 level (8/10); undetectable CH50 (3/10) and low CH50 levels (6/10); low APH50 levels (2/10). Six out of ten patients did not receive any specific treatment and 2 of them had high risk of asphyxia. One adolescent had been controlled with e-aminocaproic acid, one child had been changed from danazol to tranexamic acid, a 30 year old female patient had received oxandrolone and a 38 year old man had been treated with danazol.

CONCLUSIONS: Although HAE is caused by the same defect and affects members of the same family, various approaches have been taken to treat these patients. We observed different alternatives of prophylactic therapy for HAE, of which some did not require drug therapy.

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