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Hereditary Angioedema: Impact of COVID-19 pandemic stress upon disease related morbidity and well-being

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Individuals with hereditary angioedema (HAE) experience stress-related sequelae, including enhanced disease morbidity and reduced quality of life. The pervasive societal strain that surround the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may theoretically pose a disproportionate risk for patients with HAE.


To dissect the interrelationship(s) among the COVID-19 pandemic, stress, and HAE disease-related morbidity and overall well-being.


Subjects with HAE (either due to C1-inhibitor deficiency or with normal C1 inhibitor) as well as non-HAE household members (normal controls) completed online questionnaires that covered the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on attack frequency, observed effectiveness of HAE medications, stress, and perceived quality of life and/or well-being. The subjects scored each of the questions to reflect their current status as well as their status before being aware of the pandemic.


Disease morbidity and psychologic stress outcomes were significantly worse in patients with HAE during the pandemic compared with before they were aware of the pandemic. A COVID-19 infection further increased attack frequency. Control subjects also experienced deterioration of well-being and optimism. A comorbid diagnosis of anxiety, depression, or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was generally associated with worse outcomes. Women consistently showed greater decrements in wellness during the pandemic compared with men. Women also reported higher levels of comorbid anxiety, depression, or PTSD than men and experienced a higher rate of job loss during the pandemic.


The results implicated a deleterious impact of stress in the aftermath of COVID-19 awareness on HAE morbidity. The female subjects were universally more severely affected then were the male subjects. Overall well-being and/or quality of life, and optimism for the future deteriorated after awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic for the subjects with HAE and non-HAE household controls.

Keywords: C1 inhibitor; COVID-19; HAE; HAE-C1-INH; HAE-nl-C1-INH; QOL; SARS-CoV2; bradykinin; morbidity; stress

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: From the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California, and

Publication date: March 1, 2023

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