Among angio-oedema patients, hereditary angio-oedema (HAE) should not be overlooked. Besides skin swellings, these patients might have very painful abdominal attacks and potentially life-threatening angio-oedema of the upper airway. They will not respond to traditional anti-allergic therapy with antihistamines, corticosteroids, and adrenaline, and instead need specific drugs targeting the kallikrein-kinin pathway. Classically, patients with HAE have a quantitative or qualitative deficiency of the C1 inhibitor (C1INH) due to different mutations in SERPING1, although a new subtype with normal C1INH has been recognised more recently. This latter variant is diagnosed based on clinical features, family history, or molecular genetic testing for mutations in F12, ANGPT1, or PLG. The diagnosis of HAE is often delayed due to a general unfamiliarity with this orphan disease. However, undiagnosed patients are at an increased risk of unnecessary surgical interventions or life-threatening laryngeal swellings. Within the last decade, new and effective therapies have been developed and launched for acute and prophylactic therapy. Even more drugs are under evaluation in clinical trials. It is therefore of utmost importance that patients with HAE are diagnosed as soon as possible and offered relevant therapy with orphan drugs to reduce morbidity, prevent mortality, and improve quality of life.

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