Clinical Case Database / Category: Patient Management

Urticaria and angiodema

Publication details

Dr Amolak S Bansal
Foundation Years Journal, volume 3, issue 1, p.33 (123Doc Education, London, February 2009)


Urticaria describes short-lived slightly raised, itchy red patches anywhere on the body. Angioedema describes swelling occurring slightly deeper in the skin and mucous membranes. Urticaria may affect more than 20–25% of the population at some point in their lives. Most patients suffer both urticaria and angioedema although one may predominate in some patients. Urticarial patches are often pale in the centre and vary between a few millimetres across to 10cm or more across. These patches can sometimes become confluent giving the impression of diffusely swollen, itchy red skin. They can affect any area of the body and usually last from 30 minutes to as long as 48 hours or more. Apart from the discomfort of the itching, systemic symptoms are usually absent in simple urticaria and angioedema. Some patients may feel tired. When the individual patches of urticaria last longer than 36 hours, or are associated with bruising, then an inflammation of cutaneous blood vessels should be suspected as part of a cutaneous vasculitis. The latter is often associated with arthralgia, myalgia and mild fever.

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Dr Amolak S Bansal

Consultant in Immunology and Allergy




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