Ultrasonography in the diagnosis and monitoring of ascites in acute abdominal attacks of hereditary angioneurotic oedema

Henriette Farkas, George Harmat, Pál N. Kaposi, István Karádi, Béla Fekete, George Füst, Kálmán Fáy, Anikó Vass, Lilian Varga

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44 Citations (Scopus)


Background Hereditary angioneurotic oedema (HAE) is a rare cause of ascites. As acute abdominal attacks of the disease can mimic surgical emergencies, prompt and accurate diagnosis is essential. This study was undertaken to evaluate the usefulness of serial abdominal ultrasound (US) examinations. Patients and methods Seventy patients with HAE were followed up for almost a decade. All patients presenting with an acute oedematous attack underwent abdominal US, which was then repeated 24 and 48 h after appropriate therapy. Results Twenty-two acute oedematous attacks with abdominal complaints severe enough to justify hospital admission occurred in the study population. Abdominal US performed during the attack showed oedematous thickening of the intestinal wall in 80% of cases and invariably demonstrated the presence of free peritoneal fluid in all patients. Rapid symptomatic relief achieved by treatment was accompanied by the significant regression of US abnormalities. Conclusions Transitory ascites demonstrated by abdominal US is a clue to the diagnosis of an acute abdominal attack of HAE. The possibility of HAE should always be considered whenever unexplained abdominal pain recurs with or without ascites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1225-1230
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2001



  • Acute abdominal attack
  • Ascites
  • C1-esterase inhibitor concentrate
  • Hereditary angioneurotic oedema
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

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