Angioedema: manifestations and management

J Am Acad Dermatol. 1991 Jul;25(1 Pt 2):155-61; discussion 161-5. doi: 10.1016/0190-9622(91)70183-3.


Angioedema is characterized by localized swelling of sudden onset affecting the skin and/or mucous membranes. It can be classified into hereditary and acquired forms. Hereditary angioedema is a rare disease inherited as an autosomal dominant trait and caused by a deficiency of C1-esterase inhibitor. Acute attacks are life threatening and cannot be managed by antihistamines, corticosteroids, or adrenergic drugs. Prophylactic therapy is possible with danazol or stanozolol. Acquired angioedema includes nonhereditary C1-esterase inhibitor deficiency; idiopathic, allergic, and drug-induced forms; angioedema associated with lupus erythematosus and hypereosinophilia; and angioedema caused by physical stimuli. Treatment of these forms of angioedema depends on identifying and avoiding the cause, induction of tolerance, or symptomatic treatment with systemic antihistamines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angioedema* / drug therapy
  • Angioedema* / etiology
  • Angioedema* / genetics
  • Angioedema* / physiopathology
  • Humans