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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 14, Issue 4, Pages 349-351
Brief Communication

C1 Inhibitor Deficiency and Angioedema of the Small Intestine Masquerading as Crohn’s Disease

Kelly W Burak and Gary R May

Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Revised 18 July 1999

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A case of C1 inhibitor deficiency presenting as localized edema of the small intestine is described. A 16-year-old, previously healthy woman presented with recurrent attacks of abdominal pain and vomiting following minor abdominal trauma. Investigations including computed tomography scan and barium studies confirmed localized edema of the jejunum. At laparoscopy, Crohn’s disease was suspected; however, a subsequent enteroscopy was normal. Complement levels revealed a low C4 level, and C1 inhibitor deficiency was later confirmed. Attacks of abdominal pain began after starting oral contraceptives and have not returned since stopping the birth control pill. This rare cause of abdominal pain is examined, and C1 inhibitor deficiency and angioedema are reviewed.