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An overview of angioedema: Clinical features, diagnosis, and management

Bruce Zuraw, MD
Clifton O Bingham, III, MD
Section Editor
Sarbjit Saini, MD
Deputy Editor
Anna M Feldweg, MD


Angioedema is self-limited, localized subcutaneous (or submucosal) swelling, which results from extravasation of fluid into interstitial tissues. Angioedema may occur in isolation, accompanied by urticaria, or as a component of anaphylaxis.

The clinical features, diagnosis, differential diagnosis, and management of angioedema will be reviewed here. The pathogenesis and causes of angioedema are discussed separately. (See "An overview of angioedema: Pathogenesis and causes".)


Angioedema typically affects areas with loose connective tissue, such as the face, lips, mouth, and throat, larynx, uvula, extremities, and genitalia. Bowel wall angioedema presents as colicky abdominal pain.

Angioedema can be distinguished clinically from other forms of edema by the following characteristics:

Onset in minutes to hours and spontaneous resolution in hours to a few days


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Jul 21, 2015.
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