Wegener's Granulomatosis (cont.)
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.
In this Article
- Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA or Wegener's Granulomatosis) facts
- What is granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA)?
- What are symptoms of granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA)?
- How is granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA)?
- What is the prognosis for granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA)?
What are symptoms of granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA)?
Symptoms of granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) are:
- bloody sputum,
- joint pains,
- shortness of breath,
- sinus inflammation (sinusitis), and
- weight loss.
Nasal ulcerations and even bloody nasal discharge can occur. Other areas of the body that can also become inflamed in patients with GPA include the eyes, the nerves (neuropathy), the middle ear (otitis media), and the skin resulting in skin nodules or ulcers.
How is granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) diagnosed?
Abnormal lab findings in patients with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) include urine tests that detect protein and red blood cells in the urine (not visible to the naked eye) and x-ray tests of the chest and sinuses which detect abnormalities resulting from lung and sinus inflammation. Blood tests that detect the abnormal inflammation include the sedimentation rate (sed rate) and C-reactive protein. A more specific blood test used to diagnose and monitor Wegener's granulomatosis is the antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA test), which is commonly elevated when the disease is active.
The diagnosis of GPA is confirmed by detecting both abnormal cellular formations, called granulomas, and vasculitis in a biopsy of tissue involved with the inflammatory process. For examples, an open lung biopsy or a kidney biopsy are commonly used in making a diagnosis of granulomatosis with polyangiitis.
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