The keys vasculitis

Written by: Dra. Paloma García de la Peña Lefebvre
Published: | Updated: 17/11/2018
Edited by: Top Doctors®

The vasculitis encompasses a group of varied diseases each but they have one thing in common, that in all an inflammation of the blood vessels that carry blood to an organ occurs. Consequently, disturbances can occur which depend on the affected organ function or device.

The vasculitis may affect a single organ in isolation, as are some vasculitis affecting only the skin, or treated with systemic diseases ( affecting multiple organs ).

There are many ways to classify vasculitis but one of them is a function of the size of the vessels of the circulatory system are affected:

1. Vasculitis of large vessels (when the aorta and supra-aortic trunks, its primary branches, and proximal limb arteries are affected such as the axillary and iliac ) such as the temporal arteritis and Takayasu arteritis.

2. medium vessel vasculitis ( the hepatic arteries are affected, renal, mesenteric, etc, as well as its primary branches ) as Kawasaki disease ( which occurs mainly in childhood ) and Panarteritis nodosa.

3. vasculitis of small vessels (affecting small arteries, arterioles, capillaries and venules ) such as polyangiitis with Granulomatosis, a disease Churg-Strauss, the microscopic polyangiitis and disease Schönlein Henoch.


Most of the time the root cause of a vasculitis is unknown, we do know that there are certain factors that influence, such as race, some genes, certain environmental agents such as:the degree of insolation the time of year, or consumption of certain drugs like cocaine or toxic. There are some vasculitis directly relate some viruses such as hepatitis B and C.


The symptoms are varied and depend on which organs are affected. We may find skin lesions, ranging from ulcers to an eruption; affectation of the upper respiratory system and low with sinusitis, lung lesions ( nodules, bleeding );renal failure; affectation of peripheral nerves that produces loss of sensation or/and strength; ear hearing loss;headache, difficulty chewing… Also sometimes occurs general symptoms, such as loss of appetite, general fatigue, weight loss and fever.


The treatment depends firstly on whether or not there is a causative agent. For example, if the patient has a vasculitis that affects only the skin that has been triggered by taking an antibiotic, were sufficient to remove the antibiotic. On the other hand, if we are to a vasculitis associated with infection with hepatitis B or C, which we will have to do is to treat the infection.

If we are before systemic vasculitis will have to employ in many cases high-dose corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs (methotrexate, azathioprine and cyclophosphamide ) or immunomodulators (immunoglobulins and biological therapies ).

There vasculitis presenting with a single acute episode and then resolved;on the contrary there are others who have a chronic course with relapses.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dra. Paloma García de la Peña Lefebvre

With over 14 years of experience, Dr. Garcia de la Peña is a benchmark in the specialty of Rheumatology. Currently he is Chief of Rheumatology Hospital de Madrid and Madrid Norte Sanchinarro Hospital and a founding partner of the Reumacare Unit. Doctor of Medicine with excellent cum laude and extraordinary Thesis Award; and a member of the leading scientific societies related to their specialty nationwide. He combines his professional activity with teaching at the San Pablo CEU University and research, the main participant and collaborator in various national and international trials.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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