Hereditary angioedema with a focus on the child

Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a rare disease that causes recurrent mucosal and cutaneous swelling. Skin swelling, abdominal pain, and airway swelling cause significant morbidity and potential mortality. Symptoms often appear early in life and accelerate around puberty. Despite this, there is a paucity of both data and treatment options for HAE in children in the United States. Our objective was to summarize the published data and perform a retrospective chart review on children with HAE to improve care of the child with the disease. A retrospective chart review study was performed after Institutional Review Board approval. A search of electronic medical records from 2001 to 2011 was performed for children aged 1 to 18 years with a confirmed diagnosis of HAE. Demographic patient information was obtained and analyzed. Twenty-five pediatric patients were identified with the diagnosis of HAE: 13 female and 12 male. The median age at diagnosis was seven years. The most common initial presenting symptom was swelling of the upper extremity, followed by abdominal pain, swelling of the face and/or lower extremity, and scrotal swelling. Three patients reported no previous symptoms and were diagnosed due to family history of HAE and positive laboratory testing. The majority of patients (84%) reported a family history of HAE. Accurate and timely diagnosis of HAE is imperative for children to prevent further morbidity and mortality associated with the disease.

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