Experts in Duke’s top-ranked rheumatology center diagnose and treat all forms of vasculitis -- an autoimmune disorder characterized by inflammation of your blood vessels, including arteries, veins, and capillaries. We offer a team approach to care for vasculitis, also known as angiitis or arteritis. We help you manage the painful symptoms and work with specialists throughout Duke to treat the complications that can occur.
Our rheumatologists are experts at diagnosing and treating various forms of vasculitis, including:
- Giant cell arteritis
- Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener’s granulomatosis)
- Takayasu’s arteritis
- Polyarteritis nodosa
- IgA vasculitis
- Immune-complex mediated small vessel vasculitis
- Primary angiitis of the central nervous system
- Kawasaki disease
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
We strive to diagnose vasculitis as early as possible to give you the best possible outcome. Your evaluation begins with a review of your medical history and a comprehensive physical exam. Other tests may include:
Blood and Urine Tests
These tests are important for diagnosis by helping to identify abnormalities in different tissues and organs, levels of inflammation, and specific antibodies. Testing may indicate that your immune system is mistakenly attacking your body’s healthy tissues.
While under general or local anesthesia, a small piece of tissue is removed from the affected organ -- such as the skin, kidneys, nerves, or lungs -- and examined under a microscope to help determine the extent of inflammation and whether you have vasculitis. Biopsies are usually performed as outpatient surgery, which means you’ll be able to go home the same day.
X-ray, ultrasound, CT, and MRI scans may be used to evaluate the different tissues and organs that may be affected by vasculitis. These tests take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and are virtually painless.
This radiology test shows blood flowing through your blood vessels. A thin, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into a large artery or vein and threaded to a specific area for evaluation. A special contrast dye is injected into the catheter to make the arteries and veins visible on X-rays. The images from an angiogram may reveal abnormal narrowing or blockages of blood vessels, which would support a diagnosis of vasculitis. The procedure takes two to three hours, and you’ll receive moderate sedation (which means you will be awake for the procedure, but you will be relaxed and unable to feel pain).
Where you receive your care matters. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our rheumatology program is nationally ranked, and the highest ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2020–2021.
Why Choose Duke
A Collaborative Approach
Vasculitis can affect tissues and organs throughout the body, including the lungs, nerves, and skin. Our doctors work closely with specialists in dermatology (skin), neurology (nervous system), nephrology (kidney), radiology (imaging), ophthalmology (eye), urology (urinary system), and cardiology (heart). Our team approach ensures you receive the most thorough care.
Active Research Program
Our rheumatologists are also researchers who seek to gain a better understanding of vasculitis, what causes it, and the most effective treatment options. As a result, you may benefit from the latest treatment guidelines and have access to the latest therapies before they become widely available.