Skip to main content

Type-III hereditary angioedema resolved by surgery


In classic hereditary angioedema, inadequate C1-inhibitor (C1-INH) failing to restrict factor-XII activity leads to increased production of bradykinin, a potent vasodilator and mediator of angioedema. Hereditary angioedema with normal C1-INH (Type-III) manifests with sporadic recurrent angioedema but normal C1-INH concentration and activity. Here, bradykinin accumulation appears dependent on Factor XII and Factor XII gene mutations are sometimes found. Type-III angioedema affects almost exclusively females, worse in pregnancy, on oral contraceptives as estrogen may increase total bradykinin. Diagnosis is difficult given the clinical heterogeneity and lack of biochemical indicators. Treatment carries various risks when given for prophylaxis and a challenge for timely administration in an acute crisis. This is the first case report in the literature of a woman whose repeated angioedema episodes resolved with surgical resection of an ovarian cyst.

Case presentation

A 41-year-old woman presented with recurrent severe episodes of face, tongue, and throat swelling occurring under variable circumstances and without clear triggers. C4 and C1-INH level and function were normal. Many years after symptom onset, a large ovarian cyst was diagnosed. Measured estrogen level was high. Once the cyst was surgically removed, no further angioedema occurred. Recently a son developed vibratory angioedema, a rare form of physical urticaria. A first cousin and niece in Italy have angioedema. Genome exome sequencing is underway to determine if specific genetic variations are contributing to this family cluster of angioedema.


Resolution of Type-III hereditary angioedema manifestations by surgery upon diagnosing ovarian cysts as the source of estrogen excess adds a new facet to the evaluation and therapy for this condition. This family cluster of angioedema proposes an interesting question of genetic variations predisposing to angioedema.


Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for publication of this abstract and any accompanying images. A copy of the written consent is available for review by the Editor of this journal.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lisa W Fu.

Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Fu, L.W., Silviu-Dan, F. Type-III hereditary angioedema resolved by surgery. All Asth Clin Immun 10, A10 (2014).

Download citation


  • Angioedema
  • Ovarian Cyst
  • Hereditary Angioedema
  • Family Cluster
  • Specific Genetic Variation