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Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor-induced angioedema in a community hospital emergency department.

BACKGROUND: Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-Is) are associated with angioedema, a potentially life-threatening adverse reaction. Although multiple studies have been conducted in tertiary care emergency departments (EDs), scarce data are available about the presentation and management of ACE-I-induced angioedema (AIIA) in the community hospital ED.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the frequency, presentation, and management of AIIA in patients seen in a community hospital ED.

METHODS: A 5-year medical record review of all patients seen with angioedema at a community hospital ED. Data abstraction focused on demographic factors, initial clinical characteristics, and ED management and disposition of patients with AIIA.

RESULTS: We identified 166 ED visits for angioedema, including a subset of 50 visits for AIIA (30%; 95% confidence interval, 23%-38%). The AIIA was significantly more likely to be associated with an age of 65 years or older (P = .02), unilateral symptoms (P = .02), and absence of urticaria or itching (P < .001). The ED treatment choices and admission rates were similar between patients with and without AIIA. Community hospital admission rates for AIIA (14%) were significantly lower than those from a comparable tertiary care study (41%) (P = .003); ambulance transport to the ED was nearly 3-fold higher in the tertiary care center study (P = .006). Admission was most strongly related to lack of improvement (P < .001) and history of angioedema in AIIA (P = .009).

CONCLUSIONS: Angioedema frequency, presentation, and management are similar in community and tertiary care EDs (30%). Urticaria or itching may help differentiate AIIA from allergic reactions, which are otherwise similar in community ED presentation and management.

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