What are complications of angioedema?

Updated: Sep 04, 2018
  • Author: Huamin Henry Li, MD, PhD, CPI; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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Angioedema can be life-threatening when it involves the larynx and upper airway. It can cause trouble breathing, asphyxia, and even death. Throat pain or discomfort, dysphonia, and dysphasia may indicate laryngeal involvement. Asphyxiation due to laryngeal edema yields a 3-40% mortality. [25]

Airway swelling can make intubation difficult. This may increase the risk of vocal cord damage during intubation. In patients with angioedema who present to the emergency department, 10-25% of such cases are considered to be life-threatening. [40, 42]

Angioedema is commonly associated with severe pain and disfiguration. These can interfere with daily function and adversely affect patient quality of life.

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