Life-threatening laryngeal attacks in hereditary angioedema patients
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Background: Hereditary angioedema due to C1-inhibitor deficiency (HAE-C1INH) is a rare genetic disease that runs in the family. As a result of the disease, acute swellings of the subcutaneous tissue and mucous membranes of the digestive and respiratory systems, including the larynx, occur. Any attack of the disease involving the throat and larynx is particularly dangerous and requires knowledge of clinical determinants of the disease and its proper management. Materials and methods: The study included adult consecutive HAE-C1INH patients having follow-up visits in our centre. The group was examined with a structured clinical questionnaire, concerning the last 6 months and focusing particularly on laryngeal swelling attacks. Results: 55 subjects (F/M – 35/20, age range – 18–76) were included in the study. Laryngeal attacks occurred in 19 individuals (34.5%): 1–3, 4–6, and ≥7 attacks in 9, 8 and 2 patients, respectively, two of whom required intubation. In comparison to other patients, subjects with laryngeal attacks were characterised by significantly more frequent: (1) facial attacks, (2) severe disease activity, (3) the occurrence of female patients, (4) mental stress as a trigger of attacks. All patients with laryngeal attacks had a rescue medication at home and 15/19 (78%) patients could use it at home. Most of them used plasma-derived C1-inhibitor 17/19 (89.5%) and icatibant, 8/19 (42.1%). Discussion: HAE-C1INH patients with laryngeal attacks require particular attention. Proper training regarding the identification of these patients, adequate management, access to emergency services and emergency drugs are essential to ensure the safety of subjects with this localization of HAE-C1INH attacks.
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