gms | German Medical Science

80th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

20.05. - 24.05.2009, Rostock

Quincke's edema: diagnosis and management of 47 patients

Meeting Abstract

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Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Heilkunde, Kopf- und Hals-Chirurgie. 80. Jahresversammlung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Heilkunde, Kopf- und Hals-Chirurgie. Rostock, 20.-24.05.2009. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. Doc09hnod218

doi: 10.3205/09hnod218, urn:nbn:de:0183-09hnod2185

Published: April 17, 2009

© 2009 Marev.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Introduction: Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is extremely rare and clinically characterized by recurrent and self-limiting skin, intestinal and life threatening laryngeal edema. Because of the danger of asphyxiation, it is vital that acute attacks of laryngeal edema be interrupted immediately. The aim of this study is to provide information on the incidence, diagnosis and treatment of laryngeal edema

Methods: 47 patients with swelling of the larynx and difficulty in breathing (stridor) and 21 patients with a manifest HAE were surveyed at the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Si.Marina Hospital,Varna from 2001 to 2002.

Results: 63% of the laryngeal swellings with airway obstruction were due to radiotherapy in cancer and the intake of ACE-Inhibitors. Just 22% were due to allergic reactions. All patients were treated with intravenous steroids and anti-histamines successfully, except the HAE patient.

Conclusions: According to our experience almost all patients with laryngeal swelling and upper airway obstruction react well to the standard therapy with steroids and anti-histamines. In contrast these drugs have no effect on HAE. The challenge is to realize whether an airway obstruction is due to HAE or not. In this case, careful observation, the right medication and an appropriate airway management are lifesaving. The possibility of sudden airway obstruction and asphyxiation must be discussed with these patients and their relatives.

Key words: Quincke's edema, diagnosis