Angioedema: Clinical Presentations and Pharmacological Management

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Abstract

Angioedema (AE) is a unique clinical presentation of an unchecked release of bradykinin. The origin of this clinical presentation can be either genetic or acquired. The outcome within the patient is subcutaneous swelling of the lower layers of the epidermis. Symptoms are most often localized to the upper airway or the gastrointestinal tract. A typical course resolves in 5 to 7 days, but in some patients, the clinical manifestations exist up to 6 weeks. Hereditary AE is rare and genetically linked, and typically, the patient has episodes for many years before diagnosis. Episodes of acquired AE may be drug induced, triggered by a specific allergen, or idiopathic. Angioedema can elicit the need for critical care interventions, for advanced airway management, or unnecessary abdominal surgery. The treatment for these patients is evolving as new pharmacological agents are developed. This article addresses subtypes of AE, triggers, pharmacology, and information for interdisciplinary team planning of individualized case management.

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