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Variability of prodromal signs and symptoms associated with hereditary angioedema attacks: A literature review

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Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a rare disease caused by deficiency in the production or function of C1 inhibitor. It predisposes individuals to paroxysmal acute attacks causing painful, debilitating, disfiguring, and life-threatening angioedema. Prodromes occurring hours to days before attacks have been described in the literature; however, their significance as predictive signals of impending attacks is uncertain. Given the morbidity and mortality associated with HAE attacks and the increasing availability of therapeutic products for their treatment, identifying prodromes that accurately predict the onset of attacks could provide the basis for the development of a validated instrument to identify the onset of such attacks requiring abortive therapeutic intervention before the development of clinically significant angioedema. The aim of this study was to review the literature to identify the prodromes reported to occur with HAE attacks. A literature review of English language journal articles was performed using search terms hereditary angioedema, HAE, angioneurotic edema, prodrome, signs, and symptoms. Nineteen original English language articles that included both case reports and studies describing prodromes associated with HAE attacks were obtained. Our review indicates that there is significant variability in the expression, manifestation, prevalence, timing, and predictive reliability of the prodromes that have been described. There is considerable variability of the prodromal manifestations that may occur before or during HAE attacks. We have not found any evidence that their sensitivity and specificity for accurately predicting such attacks has been studied.

Keywords: Erythema marginatum; HAE; fatigue; gastrointestinal; hereditary angioedema; prodromal symptoms; rash; reticulate rash; treatment

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Medicine, Section of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, Penn State University, College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA

Publication date: 2009-09-01

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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