Hereditary angioedema in older adults: Understanding the patient perspective

Alan P. Baptist, George E. Freigeh, Belinda Nelson, Laurie Carpenter, Nonie S. Arora, Rachel P. Wettenstein, Timothy Craig, Marc A. Riedl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a rare condition characterized by potentially fatal, recurrent episodes of painful swelling. Whereas there are limited studies evaluating the quality of life of individuals with HAE, none have evaluated the impact of HAE on older adults. Objective: To evaluate the effect of HAE on older adults through qualitative methodology. Methods: A group of 3 physicians with extensive research and clinical experience in HAE developed a focus group guidebook highlighting issues of importance to older adults. A total of 17 patients with HAE (type I or II) aged 60 years and older participated in focus groups. Three independent reviewers coded each focus group transcript using a thematic saturation approach. Results: Reviewers identified 7 core themes from the focus groups. The themes identified encompassed the following: (1) challenges with securing medications and insurance concerns; (2) the experience of living with HAE before the advent of newer and more effective therapeutic options; (3) a worsening of HAE attack frequency and severity with aging; (4) the effects of comorbid conditions such as arthritis, memory loss, and irritable bowel syndrome; (5) changes in HAE with menopause; and (6) changing perspective on HAE with age, the effect of HAE on interpersonal relationships including the decision to have children, and goals for future care and research including support groups and a desire to be included in clinical trials. Conclusion: Older adults with HAE have specific challenges and concerns that may be unique compared with younger populations. Health care providers should address these to provide optimal care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-81.e2
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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