Angioedema Treatment

At Impact Medical, we will work to diagnose an underlying explanation for angioedema and provide a personalized treatment plan.

What is Angioedema?

Angioedema is defined as swelling without itchiness or significant redness. It can be painful, and depending on the location, it has the potential to be life-threatening.

What Causes Angioedema?

Angioedema can result from medications considered ACE inhibitors, even after tolerating the medication for years or decades. Examples of ACE inhibitors:

  • Benazepril
  • Captopril
  • Enalapril
  • Lisinopril
  • Quinapril
  • Aspirin
  • NSAIDs (Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen and diclofenac) 

Types of Angioedema

Hereditary Angioedema (HAE)

  • HAE Type I: This is the most common form of angioedema. People with HAE type 1 have low levels of an enzyme called C1 Esterase Inhibitor (C1-INH).
  • HAE Type II – Patients with this variant of HAE have normal to elevated levels of C1 Esterase Inhibitor but have poorly functioning C1 Esterase Inhibitor.  
  • HAE Type III – This is another form of familial angioedema that is less understood.  Patients present the same as those with HAE types I & II, but have normal laboratory testing (normal C1 Esterase Inhibitor and C4 levels).

Acquired Angioedema: This is characterized by an acquired deficiency of C1 Esterase Inhibitor.  Patients with this diagnosis may have an underlying autoimmune connective tissue disease or a lymphoproliferative disorder. 

Characteristics and Symptoms of Angioedema

Angioedema is characterized by the sudden and often dramatic swelling of deeper skin layers and mucous membranes, typically without the itchiness or significant redness seen in hives. Here are the key symptoms of angioedema.

Recurrence

Angioedema can be recurrent, with multiple episodes occurring over time. For individuals with underlying conditions like hereditary angioedema (HAE), these episodes may be more frequent.

Potential Triggers

While some cases of angioedema appear to have no apparent trigger, others can be induced by factors like medication, food allergies, insect stings, stress, or physical stimuli like pressure or cold exposure.

Airway Complications

When angioedema affects the throat or the laryngeal area, it can lead to airway obstruction, causing difficulty breathing and potentially becoming life-threatening. This requires immediate medical attention.

Swelling

The hallmark symptom of angioedema is the rapid and pronounced swelling, often affecting the face (lips, eyelids, and tongue), hands, feet, or the throat. Swelling can be asymmetric and may vary in severity.

Painless

Unlike hives, angioedema is typically painless and does not involve the sensation of itching. However, the swelling itself can be uncomfortable and disfiguring.

Mucous Membrane Involvement

In some cases, angioedema can affect the mucous membranes of the mouth, throat, and gastrointestinal tract, causing symptoms such as difficulty speaking or swallowing.

Variable Duration

Angioedema episodes can vary in duration, typically lasting from a few hours to several days. Acute episodes often resolve within 24 to 48 hours.

Diagnosing & Treating Angioedema

Medical History

Angioedema is often caused by an underlying condition. Your provider will examine your medical history to determine the root cause.

Laboratory Studies

Laboratory studies will be ordered to evaluate for hereditary and acquired angioedema. This will include but not be limited to C1 Esterase Inhibitor level (both total and functional), C2 level, C4 level, CH50, C1Q level.

Treatment

Treatment of angioedema depends on the underlying cause. Your medical professional will work with you to ensure that your treatment plan is tailored to treat your angioedema based on that underlying cause that is determined.

Angioedema Treatment in New Jersey

Treatment will depend on the underlying cause. If one is diagnosed with acquired angioedema, then the underlying medical condition will need to be addressed first. If the diagnosis is hereditary angioedema (Type I, II or III), we then decide if the individual will be treated with medication.
Angioedema Medications
Medications used to treat angioedema include: Conestat Alfa (Ruconest), Ecallantide (Kalbitor), Icatibant (Firazyr), C1 Esterase Inhibitor (Berinert), Berotralstat (Orladeyo), C1 Esterase Inhibitor (Cinryze, Haegarda), Attenuated Androgens

Angioedema FAQs

Yes. Angioedema can also involve the airway. If one is experiencing angioedema they need to seek medical attention immediately.

Experience freedom from angioedema symptoms today!