Vasculitis is an inflammation of blood vessels causing them to narrow and potentially prevent proper blood flow. It occurs not just in blood vessels, but also in veins, arteries, capillaries, and organs. Restricted blood flow can lead to serious side effects such as an aneurysm or organ failure.
Vasculitis Causes & Symptoms
The cause of vasculitis in most children is often unknown. In some cases, it can be attributed to an infection, adverse drug reaction, environmental triggers, or an underlying autoimmune disease. Other rare instances of vasculitis involve mutations of specific genes that cause blood vessel inflammation.
Symptoms of vasculitis in children vary but may include:
- Ongoing fatigue
- Prolonged fevers
- Muscle or joint pain
- Lack of appetite or severe weight loss
- Stomach pain or bloody diarrhea
- Dark-colored urine
- Numbness or weakness
- A skin rash
- Coughing up blood
If vasculitis is suspected, it is important to obtain an accurate diagnosis quickly and determine a swift course of action. If not treated promptly, vasculitis can become life-threatening.
To ensure a proper diagnosis, your child should be evaluated by a team of experts, including a pediatric rheumatologist.
Tests to help confirm vasculitis include:
- Blood and urine tests to identify inflammation
- An electrocardiogram, or EKG, to gauge heart function
- A lung evaluation to monitor breathing
- Ultrasound, CT scans, MRIs, or angiography to view blood vessels and organs and check for damage
- A biopsy to sample inflamed tissue
Vasculitis Treatment in Austin & Cedar Park, TX
Medications are available to treat vasculitis by helping to repair blood vessels and control inflammation. In serious cases, additional care may be needed to support organ function or surgery may be required to repair damaged blood vessels.