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Dr Andrew Baker - Immunologist and Allergy Specialist - North Shore Auckland

Private Service, Allergy and Immunology, Internal Medicine

Angioedema (Episodic swelling lips/tongue/eyes)

This is episodic swelling of the lips, tongue or around the eyes that is usually painless.  For some it can cause shortness of breath, voice change, or a sensation of tightness around the neck.  

Angioedema can be due to allergy or have other causes.  Again, carefully listening to a patient's symptoms can help distinguish the causes.  Sometimes further tests are needed.

Anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) are a commonly missed cause, as are ACE inhibitors (a blood pressure medication).

Angioedema can also occur in association with non-allergic causes such as infection or chronic, non-allergic urticaria.

If breathing or voice change, or large tongue swelling has occurred an adrenaline autoinjector such as Anapen and Epipen should be considered, and an action plan must be provided.

If you think you may get angioedema it is useful to take a photo of any tongue swelling, eye swelling, lip or hand/feet swelling, as well as a photo of any rashes, and bring these photos to clinic.

This page was last updated at 1:09PM on September 7, 2021.