Hereditary angioedema: Epidemiology and burden of disease
Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a rare autosomal dominant genetic disorder characterized by swelling of subcutaneous, mucosal, and submucosal tissue without associated pruritus or wheals caused by a temporary localized increase in vascular permeability. Swelling attacks primarily affect the cutaneous tissue, abdominal viscera, genitals, or airways.
Reports of the prevalence of HAE C1 inhibitor (C1-INH) deficiency varies widely, from 1:50,000 to 1:100,000. The prevalence of HAE normal C1-INH is unknown but is likely much lower than HAE C1-INH. Approximately one-third of patients with recurrent angioedema without wheals have HAE.
The burden of disease for patients with HAE is substantial. Attacks are unpredictable with respect to frequency, severity, and the site that swells. Laryngeal attacks can be fatal if not treated promptly and appropriately. Feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression can trigger attacks, and begin a cycle of attacks that cause anxiety that, in turn, triggers further attacks. Despite full physical recovery between attacks, patients often experience continual emotional impairment and reduced quality of life (QoL). Absenteeism from work and presenteeism at work or educational activities for patients and caregivers increase stress and reduce productivity during and between attacks. Missed opportunities for career development are common.
Significant advances have been made in the past decade to expand both acute and prophylactic treatment options for patients with HAE, lowering both the disease and treatment burden, and improving the QoL of patients with HAE.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: From the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, Texas; 2: Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, RI
Publication date: November 1, 2020
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