Learn About Necrotizing Vasculitis

What is the definition of Necrotizing Vasculitis?

Necrotizing vasculitis is a group of disorders that involve inflammation of the blood vessel walls. The size of the affected blood vessels helps to determine the names of these conditions and how the disorder causes disease.

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What are the alternative names for Necrotizing Vasculitis?

What are the causes of Necrotizing Vasculitis?

Necrotizing vasculitis may be the primary condition such as polyarteritis nodosa or granulomatosis with ANCA associated vasculitis (formerly called Wegener granulomatosis). In other cases, the vasculitis may occur as part of another disorder, such as systemic lupus erythematosus or hepatitis C.

The cause of the inflammation is unknown. It is likely related to autoimmune factors. The wall of the blood vessel may scar and thicken or die (become necrotic). The blood vessel may close, interrupting blood flow to the tissues it supplies. The lack of blood flow will cause the tissues to die. Sometimes the blood vessel may break and bleed (rupture).

Necrotizing vasculitis may affect blood vessels in any part of the body. Therefore, it can cause problems in the skin, brain, lungs, intestines, kidney, brain, joints or any other organ.

What are the symptoms of Necrotizing Vasculitis?

Fever, chills, fatigue, arthritis, or weight loss may be the only symptoms at first. However, symptoms may be in almost any part of the body.

Skin:

  • Red or purple colored bumps on the legs, hands or other parts of the body
  • Bluish color to the fingers and toes
  • Signs of tissue death due to lack of oxygen such as pain, redness, and ulcers that do not heal

Muscles and joints:

  • Joint pain
  • Leg pain
  • Muscle weakness

Brain and nervous system:

  • Pain, numbness, tingling in an arm, leg, or other body area
  • Weakness of an arm, leg, or other body area
  • Pupils that are different sizes
  • Eyelid drooping
  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Speech impairment
  • Movement difficulty

Lungs and respiratory tract:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sinus congestion and pain
  • Coughing up blood or bleeding from the nose

Other symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in the urine or stools
  • Hoarseness or changing voice
  • Chest pain from damage of the arteries that supply the heart (coronary arteries)
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What are the current treatments for Necrotizing Vasculitis?

Corticosteroids are given in most cases. The dose will depend on how bad the condition is.

Other drugs that suppress the immune system may reduce inflammation of the blood vessels. These include azathioprine, methotrexate, and mycophenolate. These medicines are often used along with corticosteroids. This combination makes it possible to control the disease with a lower dose of corticosteroids.

For severe disease, cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) has been used for many years. However, rituximab (Rituxan) is equally effective and is less toxic.

Recently, tocilizumab (Actemra) was shown to be effective for giant cell arteritis so the dose corticosteroids could be reduced.

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Necrotizing Vasculitis?

Necrotizing vasculitis can be serious and life-threatening disease. The outcome depends on the location of the vasculitis and the severity of tissue damage. Complications may occur from the disease and from the medicines. Most forms of necrotizing vasculitis require long-term follow-up and treatment.

What are the possible complications of Necrotizing Vasculitis?

Complications may include:

  • Permanent damage to the structure or function of the affected area
  • Secondary infections of necrotic tissues
  • Side effects from medicines used
When should I contact a medical professional for Necrotizing Vasculitis?

Call your provider if you have symptoms of necrotizing vasculitis.

Emergency symptoms include:

  • Problems in more than one part of the body such as stroke, arthritis, severe skin rash, abdominal pain or coughing up blood
  • Changes in pupil size
  • Loss of function of an arm, leg, or other body part
  • Speech problems
  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Weakness
  • Severe abdominal pain
How do I prevent Necrotizing Vasculitis?

There is no known way to prevent this disorder.

Circulatory system
What are the latest Necrotizing Vasculitis Clinical Trials?
Studies of the Natural History, Pathogenesis, and Outcome of Idiopathic Systemic Vasculitis

Background: - Vasculitis is a group of diseases that inflame and damage blood vessels and tissue. It can cause many medical problems. Few tests can diagnose the disease, and none can reliably predict a relapse. Researchers want to study people s genes and follow people over time to see how the disease affects them.

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Chronic Childhood Vasculitis: Characterizing the Individual Rare Diseases to Improve Patient Outcomes

Summary: Childhood chronic vasculitis describes a group of rare life-threatening diseases that have in common inflammation of blood vessels in vital organs such as kidneys, lungs and brain. Most knowledge about them comes from adult patients. Severe disease requires aggressive life-saving treatments with steroids and some cancer drugs which can themselves cause damage, and increase risks of cancer and seve...

What are the Latest Advances for Necrotizing Vasculitis?
Joint replacement for avascular necrosis in people living with HIV.
Treating Patients With ANCA-Associated Vasculitis and Very Severe Renal Injury With an Intensified B Cell Depletion Therapy: Comparison With a Control Cohort Receiving a Conventional Therapy.
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Infliximab therapy of relapsing tracheal stenosis in a pediatric patient with granulomatosis with polyangiitis: a case report.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: May 02, 2021
Published By: Diane M. Horowitz, MD, Rheumatology and Internal Medicine, Northwell Health, Great Neck, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Dinulos JGH. Hypersensitivity syndromes and vasculitis. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 18.

Jennette JC, Falk RJ. Renal and systemic vasculitis. In: Feehally J, Floege J, Tonelli M, Johnson RJ, eds. Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 25.

Rhee RL, Hogan SL, Poulton CJ, et al. Trends in long-term outcomes among patients with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis with renal disease. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2016;68(7):1711-1720. PMID: 26814428 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26814428/.

Saha MK, Pendergraft WF, Jennette C, Falk RJ. Primaryu glomerular disease. In: Yu ASL, Chertow GM, Luyckx VA, Marsden PA, Skorecki K, Taal MW, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 31.

Stone JH, Klearman M, Collinson N. Trial of tocilizumab in giant-cell arteritis. N Engl J Med. 2017;377(15):1494-1495. PMID: 29020600 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29020600/.