Acute abdomen and angioedema: a classic presentation

Accident And Emergency Medicine, Surgery (including Trauma)
Case Report
10.1102/1470-5206.2007.0010
7
29-35
Acute abdomen and angioedema: a classic presentation

Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is an infrequent disorder characterised by abnormalities in the levels and/or function of complement C1 esterase inhibitor (C1 INH). Clinical manifestations of HAE are due to recurrent episodic swelling of the subcutaneous or submucosal tissue. When swelling involves the gastrointestinal mucosa, patients may present with nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and severe abdominal pain. However, HAE is almost never suspected as a potential cause of acute abdomen. We describe a typical case of hereditary C1 esterase inhibitor deficiency in a 37-year-old woman presenting with recurrent acute abdomen and who had undergone negative surgical interventions before diagnosis was eventually established. Both the diagnostic and therapeutic approach to this rare condition is discussed in this report.

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Editor-in-Chief

Frank Cross
Consultant Vascular and General Surgeon
The London Clinic, UK

Editors

Neil Barnes
Consultant Physician
Barts Health NHS Trust, London, UK
Ali Jawad
Professor of Rheumatology
Barts Health NHS Trust, London, UK

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