, Volume 15, Issue 12, pp 2262-2266,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 15 Oct 2011

“Surgical” Abdomen in a Patient with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: A Case of Acquired Angioedema



Acquired angioedema (AAE), an acquired deficiency of C1esterase inhibitor, is a medically treatable condition which can cause severe abdominal pain mimicking an acute surgical abdomen. This disorder is strongly associated with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and other indolent lymphoplasmacytic disorders.


We describe a patient with known CLL who developed incapacitating, recurrent severe abdominal pains, culminating in partial bowel resection. Signs, symptoms, laboratory and pathologic findings demonstrated AAE.


Wider appreciation of the possibility of AAE, particularly in patients with lymphoproliferative disorders, could lead to preventive therapy and spare unnecessary surgery. This is more important now that more effective medical therapies are available.