What is the definition of Takayasu Arteritis?

Takayasu arteritis is an inflammation of large arteries such as the aorta and its major branches. The aorta is the artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

What are the alternative names for Takayasu Arteritis?

Pulseless disease, Large-vessel vasculitis

What are the causes for Takayasu Arteritis?

The cause of Takayasu arteritis is not known. The disease occurs mainly in children and women between the ages of 20 to 40. It is more common in people of East Asian, Indian or Mexican descent. However, it is now being seen more often in other parts of the world. Several genes that increase the chance of having this problem were recently found.

Takayasu arteritis appears to be an autoimmune condition. This means the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in the blood vessel wall. The condition may also involve other organ systems.

This condition has many features that are similar to giant cell arteritis or temporal arteritis in older people.

What are the symptoms for Takayasu Arteritis?

Symptoms may include:

  • Arm weakness or pain with use
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Lightheadedness
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Skin rash
  • Night sweats
  • Vision changes
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased radial pulses (at the wrist)
  • Difference in blood pressure between the two arms
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

There may also be signs of inflammation (pericarditis or pleuritis).

What are the current treatments for Takayasu Arteritis?

Treatment of Takayasu arteritis is difficult. However, people who have the right treatment can improve. It is important to identify the condition early. The disease tends to be chronic, requiring long-term use of anti-inflammatory medicines.


Most people are first treated with high doses of corticosteroids such as prednisone. As the disease is controlled the dose of prednisone is decreased.

In almost all cases, immunosuppressive drugs are added to reduce the need for long-term use of prednisone and yet maintain control of the disease.

Conventional immunosuppressive agents such as methotrexate, azathioprine, mycophenolate, cyclophosphamide, or leflunomide are often added.

Biologic agents may also be effective. These include TNF inhibitors such as infliximab, etanercept, and tocilizumab.


Surgery or angioplasty may be used to open up narrowed arteries to supply blood or open up the constriction.

Aortic valve replacement may be needed in some cases.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Takayasu Arteritis?

This disease can be fatal without treatment. However, a combined treatment approach using medicines and surgery has reduced death rates. Adults have a better chance of survival than children.

What are the possible complications for Takayasu Arteritis?

Complications may include:

  • Blood clot
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Pericarditis
  • Aortic valve insufficiency
  • Pleuritis
  • Stroke
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding or pain from blockage of bowel blood vessels

When should I contact a medical professional for Takayasu Arteritis?

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of this condition. Immediate care is needed if you have:

  • Weak pulse
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulty


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Dejaco C, Ramiro S, Duftner C, et al. EULAR recommendations for the use of imaging in large vessel vasculitis in clinical practice. Ann Rheum Dis. 2018;77(5):636-643. PMID: 29358285 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29358285/.

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Serra R, Butrico L, Fugetto F, et al. Updates in pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of Takayasu arteritis. Ann Vasc Surg. 2016;35:210-225. PMID: 27238990 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27238990/.

  • Condition: Takayasu Arteritis (TAK)
  • Journal: European review for medical and pharmacological sciences
  • Treatment Used: Biological Agents
  • Number of Patients: 517
  • Published —
This review of the literature examined the safety and effectiveness of biological agents in the treatment of patients with Takayasu arteritis (vasculitis; TAK).
  • Condition: Renal Artery Stenosis
  • Journal: Zhongguo yi xue ke xue yuan xue bao. Acta Academiae Medicinae Sinicae
  • Treatment Used: Open Surgery Versus Percutaneous Balloon Angioplasty Versus Stenting
  • Number of Patients: NULL
  • Published —
This study reviews the clinical effectiveness, long-term patency, and complications of open surgery versus percutaneous balloon angioplasty versus stenting in patients with Takayasu arteritis-associated renal artery stenosis.