(Received 24 January 1992; accepted 10 February 1992)
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A markedly hypertensive, 70-year-old, black man had been on captopril for 2 years when he rapidly developed obstructive angioedema. The initial sign of difficulty in understanding his speech progressed to severe laryngeal and glossal edema over a 3½ h period. His airway became obstructed less than a minute after arrival at the emergency room. Oral intubation was unsuccessful, and a difficult tracheostomy was too late to save the patient. The death was reported to the medical examiner because of its sudden and unusual nature. The risk of angioedema while on angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor therapy has been noted previously in the clinical literature. Because of the sudden onset and possible confusion with an allergic reaction, this entity is brought to the attention of the forensic medical community.
Assistant Professor, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Stock #: JFS13333J