The humanistic burden of hereditary angioedema: Impact on health-related quality of life, productivity, and depression

Allergy Asthma Proc. 2010 Sep-Oct;31(5):407-14. doi: 10.2500/aap.2010.31.3394.


Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a rare, autosomal dominant disorder characterized by recurrent acute attacks of swelling of the larynx, abdomen, and periphery. This study was designed to assess the humanistic burden of illness associated with HAE. HAE burden was assessed via a web-based survey of patients that solicited information on attack characterization, treatment, side effects, pain, and functional and emotional burden of disease management. In addition to HAE-specific sections, the survey used three standardized instruments to compare HAE patient data to normative (healthy) and chronic disease populations: the 12-Item Short Form (SF-12) Health Survey, the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment-General Health (WPAI-GH) questionnaire, and the Hamilton Depression Inventory-Short Form (HDI-SF). A total of 457 HAE patients responded to the survey (response rate, ∼19%). Patients reported significantly poorer health-related quality of life versus population norms, based on the SF-12 Physical Component Summary (mean, 43.7 versus 49.6; p < 0.001) and Mental Component Summary (mean, 42.6 versus 49.4; p < 0.001). HAE patients also had higher mean HDI-SF scores than population norms (8.1 ± 6.5 versus 3.1 ± 3.0; p < 0.001), with 42.5% of HAE patients scoring >8.5, indicative of depressive symptomatology. Productivity was also markedly impaired in all WPAI-GH categories, including 34% overall work impairment. Because of their most recent HAE attack, workers lost a mean of 3.3 days; students lost a mean of 1.9 days. HAE results in considerable humanistic burden to patients across physical and mental health domains; negatively impacts education, career, and work productivity; and compounds the substantial economic burdens that are reported separately.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Angioedemas, Hereditary / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Quality of Life*