Treatment of laryngeal hereditary angioedema

Mark J Richman, David A Talan, William R Lumry
Journal of Emergency Medicine 2012, 42 (1): 44-7

BACKGROUND: In the emergency department, patients with laryngeal swelling and an inconclusive patient history may receive treatment for allergy-mediated angioedema. Intubation may be necessary if the patient does not respond to treatment. Because angioedema subtypes respond to different interventions, a correct diagnosis is vital.

OBJECTIVES: Review the differential diagnosis of angioedema and characteristics differentiating subtypes. Discuss therapies for angioedema subtypes. Introduce therapies for prevention and acute treatment of hereditary angioedema (HAE).

CASE REPORT: A 10-year-old girl presented with laryngeal swelling unresponsive to diphenhydramine, methylprednisolone, and epinephrine. It was later revealed that she had a family history of HAE, was C1 inhibitor deficient, and enrolled in a clinical study of acute HAE treatment. She was given 1000 units of nanofiltered C1 inhibitor and was able to swallow within 30 min. She was prescribed routine prophylaxis with C1 inhibitor concentrate and has had no subsequent severe HAE swelling attacks.

CONCLUSION: This case illustrates the need for providers to consider HAE in light of available diagnostic testing and recent Food and Drug Administration approval of specific therapies for HAE.

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