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Classification and external resources
Churg-Strauss syndrome - very high mag.jpg
ICD-10I77.6, I80, L95, M30-M31
ICD-9446, 447.6
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Classification and external resources
Churg-Strauss syndrome - very high mag.jpg
ICD-10I77.6, I80, L95, M30-M31
ICD-9446, 447.6

Vasculitis (plural: vasculitides)[1] is a group of disorders that destroy blood vessels by inflammation.[2] Both arteries and veins are affected. Lymphangitis is sometimes considered a type of vasculitis.[3] Vasculitis is primarily due to leukocyte migration and resultant damage.

Although both occur in vasculitis, inflammation of veins (phlebitis) or arteries (arteritis) on their own are separate entities.


Vasculitis can be classified by the cause, the location, the type of vessel or the size of vessel.

According to the size of the vessel affected, vasculitis can be classified into:[5]


Some disorders have vasculitis as their main feature. The major types are given in the table below:

Comparison of major types of vasculitis
VasculitisAffected organsHistopathology
Cutaneous small-vessel vasculitisSkin, kidneysNeutrophils, fibrinoid necrosis
Wegener's granulomatosisNose, lungs, kidneysNeutrophils, giant cells
Churg–Strauss syndromeLungs, kidneys, heart, skinHistiocytes, eosinophils
Kawasaki diseaseSkin, heart, mouth, eyesLymphocytes, endothelial necrosis
Buerger's diseaseLeg arteries and veins (gangrene)Neutrophils, granulomas
"Limited" Wegener's vasculitisCommonly sinuses, brain, and skin; can affect other organs such as lungs, kidneys, joints;

Takayasu's arteritis, polyarteritis nodosa and giant cell arteritis mainly involve arteries and are thus sometimes classed specifically under arteritis.

Furthermore, there are many conditions that have vasculitis as an accompanying or atypical symptom, including:

Several of these vasculitides are associated with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies.[6] These are


Petechia and purpura on the lower limb due to medication-induced vasculitis.

Possible symptoms include:[7]


Severe vasculitis of the major vessels, displayed on FDG-PET/CT


Treatments are generally directed toward stopping the inflammation and suppressing the immune system. Typically, corticosteroids such as prednisone are used. Additionally, other immune suppression drugs, such as cyclophosphamide and others, are considered. In case of an infection, antimicrobial agents including cephalexin may be prescribed. Affected organs (such as the heart or lungs) may require specific medical treatment intended to improve their function during the active phase of the disease.

See also[edit]

Sturge–Weber syndrome


  1. ^ "Vasculitis - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary". Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  2. ^ "Glossary of dermatopathological terms. DermNet NZ". Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  3. ^ "Vasculitis" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  4. ^ Jennette JC, Falk RJ, Andrassy K, et al. (1994). "Nomenclature of systemic vasculitides. Proposal of an international consensus conference". Arthritis Rheum. 37 (2): 187–92. doi:10.1002/art.1780370206. PMID 8129773. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Millet A, Pederzoli-Ribeil M, Guillevin L, Witko-Sarsat V, Mouthon L (2013) Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitides: is it time to split up the group? Ann Rheum Dis
  7. ^ "The Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center - Symptoms of Vasculitis". Retrieved 2009-05-07.