Hereditary Angioedema Presenting as Recurrent Acute Pancreatitis

Pediatrics. 2016 Feb;137(2):e20150620. doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-0620. Epub 2016 Jan 26.


Hereditary angioedema (HAE) may manifest with swelling of the face, extremities, and upper airways. Gastrointestinal symptoms are also common and may include abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, pancreatic involvement is rare and has been reported only in a few adults with previously diagnosed HAE. We describe a 6-year-old boy who presented with recurrent severe abdominal pain accompanied by an elevation in pancreatic enzyme levels, without subcutaneous or cutaneous angioedema. His symptoms had begun 18 months earlier, and he was hospitalized several times before the present admission with a diagnosis of acute pancreatitis. More comprehensive analysis yielded low levels of C2, C4, CH50, and C1 esterase inhibitor, establishing the diagnosis of HAE. One year after diagnosis, swelling of the extremities appeared for the first time. This is the first report of a child in whom pancreatic disease was the presenting symptom of HAE. HAE should be included in the differential diagnosis of recurrent pancreatitis in children.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Angioedemas, Hereditary / complications
  • Angioedemas, Hereditary / diagnosis*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pancreatitis / etiology*
  • Recurrence