OBJECTIVE: Angioedema (AE) is a potentially life-threatening event. We investigated the etiology of AE, with the emphasis on bradykinininduced angioedema treatment in emergency medicine.
METHODS: The retrospective study included 237 patients with AE, who were examined and treated in two hospitals (group A and B) in Croatia from 2009 to 2016. The location and duration of AE, data about chronic diseases and treatment, potential causative agents (food, drugs, insect bites and chemicals), physical examination data and the subsequent treatment were analyzed.
RESULTS: There was no statistical difference regarding age or comorbidities but there was a statistically significant difference in etiology between the groups (Chi-square, P=0.03). Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) blocker induced AE was the main cause of emergency attendance in group A (37.5%) and among the leading causes in group B (18.8%). Bradykinin-induced AE (hereditary angioedema (HAE) and RAAS-AE) were the leading causes in a total of 75 (31.5%) patients. RAAS-AE was treated with glucocorticoids and antihistamines. HAE attacks in both groups (2/7 patients, 1.5/6%) were treated with specific therapy. Other causes of AE in groups A/B were insect bites (15/23 patients, 13.5/20%), use of antibiotics/analgetics (11/17 patients, 9/15%), gastroesophageal reflux disease (10/11 patients, 8/9%), neoplasms (5/6 patients, 4/5%) and idiopatic (32/31 patients, 26.5/26%). 21% of patients were hospitalized.
CONCLUSION: Bradykinin-mediated AE was the main cause of emergency attendance associated with AE. Advances in the treatment of HAE, with case reports of patients with RAAS-AE treated with C1 esterase inhibitor concentrate or bradykinin receptor antagonist, may prove to be a new, reliable and efficacious therapy option.
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