Disease expression in women with hereditary angioedema

OBJECTIVE: Fluctuations in sex hormones can trigger angioedema attacks in women with hereditary angioedema. Combined oral contraceptive therapies, as well as pregnancy, can induce severe attacks. The course of angioedema may be very variable in different women.

STUDY DESIGN: Within the PREHAEAT project launched by the European Union, data on 150 postpubertal women with hereditary angioedema were collected in 8 countries, using a patient-based questionnaire.

RESULTS: Puberty worsened the disease for 62%. Combined oral contraceptives worsened the disease for 79%, whereas progestogen-only pills improved it for 64%. During pregnancies, 38% of women had more attacks, but 30% had fewer attacks. Vaginal delivery was usually uncomplicated. Attacks occurred within 48 hours in only 6% of cases. Those more severely affected during menses had more symptoms during pregnancies, suggesting a hormone-sensitive phenotype for some patients.

CONCLUSION: The course of angioedema in women with C1 inhibitor deficiency is affected by physiologic hormonal changes; consequently, physicians should take these into account when advising on management.


Available online at: http://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378%2808%2900430-4/fulltext