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Open Access Open Badges Research

Erythropoietic Protoporphyria Masquerading as Angioedema in a 4-Year-Old Female

Helen C Wang and Ejaz Yousef*

Author Affiliations

Division of Allergy and Immunology, Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Nemours Children's Clinic, Wilmington, Delaware; Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology 2006, 2:20-23  doi:10.1186/1710-1492-2-1-20

Published: 15 March 2006


Angioedema is a common presentation with a broad differential, including rare disorders with which an allergist must be familiar. Our objective was to report a case of swelling of the hands and feet mimicking angioedema with hepatomegaly in a 4-year-old girl. The patient was evaluated for painful swelling of the hands and feet after exposure to sun. Examination revealed edema and erythema of the extremities and hepatomegaly. Laboratory evaluation included elevated liver transaminases and plasma protoporphyrin, with normal urine porphyrins. Liver biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of erythropoietic protoporphyria, a disorder of heme biosynthesis in which patients may present with photosensitivity and angioedema. It is important for allergists to recognize this entity in patients with cutaneous disorders of unclear etiology in order to prevent possible life-threatening sequelae.