Systemic vasculitis

Systemic vasculitis is inflammation of the walls of blood vessels. Clinical and pathological syndrome characterized by inflammation and necrosis of the vascular wall and ischemic changes in tissues related to the pool of affected vessels. Since the inflammatory process can develop in the vessels of any localization, vasculitis is a heterogeneous syndrome. There are primary (in the absence of concomitant pathology) and secondary (associated with other diseases) vasculitis.

The reasons

Vascular disease is an independent disease, also developing against the background of some infectious, allergic or other disease.


With all vasculitis, all kinds of vessels are affected, which leads to disruption of the blood supply to organs and systems and to their further changes. Each type of vasculitis has its own characteristics.

  • Nodular periarteritis. The disease develops mainly in men. Patients develop muscle pain, fever, and weight loss. Severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting may occur suddenly. The disease threatens strokes and mental disorders.
  • Wegener’s granulomatosis. The disease is characterized by: pain in the sinuses, purulent or bloody discharge from the nose, ulcers on the nasal mucosa, destruction of the nasal septum and (in connection with this) saddle nose deformity. In addition, other serious problems appear: lungs – cough, hemoptysis, shortness of breath and chest pain; kidneys – the rapid development of renal failure.
  • Giant cell temporal arteritis. It affects the elderly (60-80 years). The disease is characterized by: undulating fever, weakness, malaise, weight loss, throbbing severe headaches, aggravated by chewing, swelling in the temporal region.
  • Nonspecific aortoarteritis. Patients complain of numbness and pain in the limbs, pain in the back, abdomen, etc., fainting and visual impairment.
  • Thromboangiitis obliterans. Its symptoms depend on the affected vessels. The vessels of the extremities are mainly affected, which leads to the development of lameness and numbness of the hands.
  • Behcet’s syndrome. Its most important symptom is recurrent stomatitis. The second most common symptom is ulcers on the scrotum and penis in men, the vagina and external genitalia in women. All kinds of inflammation of the eyes also develop.


Patients are prescribed a clinical blood test, a clinical urine test, angiography (examination of blood vessels), and a chest x-ray.


Treatment depends on the type of vasculitis. Anti-inflammatory products, immunosuppressants (suppressing immunity) and drugs that improve blood flow in the vessels are mainly prescribed. Other aspects of the management of patients with vasculitis are associated with the involvement of specialists in various fields for their treatment.

The development of complications in these diseases, as a rule, requires coordinated actions of therapists, nephrologists, otolaryngologists, neuropathologists, surgeons, ophthalmologists, etc. In these situations, a unified approach to the treatment of vasculitis is especially important.

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