Angioedema natural history
The stomach attacks in angioedema can last anywhere from 1-5 days on average, and can require hospitalization for aggressive pain management and hydration. Abdominal attacks have also been known to cause a significant increase in the patient's white blood cell count, usually in the vicinity of 13-30,000. As the symptoms begin to diminish, the white count slowly begins to decrease, returning to normal when the attack subsides.
Possible complications include:
- Anaphylactic reaction.
- Life-threatening airway blockage (if swelling occurs in the throat).
Angioedema that does not affect the breathing may be uncomfortable, but is usually harmless and goes away in a few days.
Predicting where and when the next episode of edema will occur is impossible. Most patients have an average of one episode per month, but there are also patients who have weekly episodes or only one or two episodes per year. The triggers can vary and include infections, minor injuries, mechanical irritation, operations or stress. In most cases, edema develops over a period of 12-36 hours and then subsides within 2-5 days.