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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

versão On-line ISSN 2078-5135
versão impressa ISSN 0256-9574


DAY, C et al. Acute angioedema in Cape Town emergency centres and a suggested algorithm to simplify and improve management. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2023, vol.113, n.8, pp.1340-1346. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND: Angioedema is the most common acute allergic presentation to emergency centres (EC), with hospitalisation rates increasing in high-income countries. Angioedema can complicate with life-threatening laryngeal obstruction. There are no local data; therefore, we aimed to characterise acute angioedema cases presenting to ECs and develop a simple management algorithm OBJECTIVE: To characterise the clinical presentation, management and outcomes of acute angioedema cases presenting to ECs. Based on these findings, we developed a management algorithm for acute angioedema to improve the care of acute angioedema in South Africa (SA METHODS: We conducted a retrospective folder review of all patients admitted to Groote Schuur Hospital (tertiary) and Mitchells Plain District Hospital (secondary) ECs from 1 June 2018 to 31 June 2020. Using ICD-10 coding, folders of adults >18 years with possible angioedema presenting to the ECs were screened. An allergist extracted demographics, medical history, management and outcome data for each angioedema event RESULTS: A total of 142 acute angioedema episodes were included, with a median (interquartile range) age of 42 (28 - 58) years, and 62% of patients were female. The majority (124/142, 87%) of acute angioedema EC presentations involved swelling above the shoulders, with airway involvement in 20 (14%) patients, with two patients requiring intubation. Nineteen (13%) patients required admission, with five (26%) admitted to high care/intensive care. Drug-induced angioedema was the most common cause, with 64/142 (45%) linked to a known offending drug, 42/64 (65.6%) being angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE-I). Critical information to guide angioedema management, including past personal/family allergy history, and duration of angioedema prior to EC visit, was not recorded in 64.7% and 37.8% of EC records, respectively. Unnecessary treatment with corticosteroids or antihistamines occurred in 19/53 (36%) and 16/53 (30%) cases with bradykinin-mediated angioedema ACE-I angioedema and hereditary angioedema). Overall, only 36/142 (25%) of angioedema patients were connected to allergy care CONCLUSION: Angioedema is the most common allergy presentation to two ECs in Cape Town, SA. Bradykinin-mediated angioedema secondary to ACE-I therapy is the single most common offender, and was not appropriately managed in more than a third of cases. Based on these findings, we have developed a management algorithm that easily stratifies patients into bradykinin or mast cell-mediated angioedema with a step-by-step management approach that is applicable to the SA context. Ongoing awareness and education on allergy emergencies are required to ensure accurate diagnosis of less common causes of angioedema (particularly bradykinin-mediated angioedema) and linkage to allergy specialist care

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