William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- What is vasculitis?
- What causes vasculitis and what are examples of diseases with vasculitis?
- How is vasculitis diagnosed?
- How is vasculitis treated?
- Vasculitis At A Glance
- Find a local Internist in your town
How is vasculitis diagnosed?
Laboratory testing of blood or body fluids in a patient with active vasculitis generally indicates inflammation in the body. Depending on the degree of organ involvement, a variety of organ function tests can be abnormal.
The diagnosis of vasculitis is definitively established after a biopsy of involved tissue demonstrates the pattern of blood vessel inflammation. Examples of tissues used for biopsy include skin, sinuses, lung, nerve, and kidney. Depending upon the situation, an alternative to biopsy can be an x-ray test of the blood vessels called an angiogram, which can demonstrate characteristic patterns of inflammation in affected blood vessels.
How is vasculitis treated?
The treatment of the various forms of vasculitis is based on the severity of the illness and the organs involved. Treatments are generally directed toward stopping the inflammation and suppressing the immune system. Typically, cortisone-related medications, such as prednisone, are used. Additionally, other immune suppression drugs, such as cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) and others, are considered. Additionally, affected organs (such as the heart or lungs) may require specific medical treatment when the disease is active.
The management of vasculitis is an evolving field in medicine. The ideal programs for monitoring and treatment will continue to improve as disease patterns and causes are defined by medical research.
Next: Vasculitis At A Glance
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