Vasculitis

Vasculitis

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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 and arteritis. We help you manage the painful symptoms and work with specialists throughout Duke, when necessary, to treat the more serious complications that can occur.

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About Vasculitis

Our rheumatologists are experts at diagnosing and treating most forms of vasculitis, including:

  • Kawasaki disease
  • Giant cell arteritis
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener’s granulomatosis)
  • Takayasu’s arteritis
  • Polyarteritis nodosa

We offer the latest techniques and therapies to care for vasculitis. We are also involved in research to better understand the causes of vasculitis and find the best treatments. We help you manage the disease and minimize your risk for future complications.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Treatments

Your treatment plan will depend on the severity of your symptoms. Treatment options include:

Corticosteroids

These medications reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation and are used to treat most types of vasculitis.

Cytotoxic Medications

If corticosteroids are ineffective, your doctor may recommend cytotoxic medications, which kill the cells causing the inflammation.

Monoclonal Antibodies

This therapy targets specific areas of the immune system to reduce the inflammatory effects of certain types of vasculitis, including:

  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  • Microscopic polyangiitis
  • Cryoglobulinemic vasculitis
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Tests

We strive to diagnose your condition at its earliest stages to ensure you experience 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

Your doctor may order blood and urine tests to look for specific blood cells and antibodies that signal the presence of inflammation. Testing may also indicate that your immune system is mistakenly attacking your body’s healthy tissues. 

Biopsy

A small piece of tissue is removed from the affected organ -- such as the skin, kidneys, nerves, or lungs -- and examined to determine whether you have vasculitis.

Imaging Tests

X-ray, ultrasound, CT, and MRI scans may be used to determine whether larger arteries are affected in organs such as your lungs or heart.

Angiography

A type of X-ray that shows blood flowing through your veins. A thin, flexible tube called a catheter is threaded into a large artery or vein. A special contrast dye is injected into the catheter to make the arteries and veins visible.

12th in the U.S., 1st in NC

Where you receive your care matters. Duke University Hospital is nationally ranked for rheumatology and is the best in North Carolina.

Experienced Vasculitis Care

A Collaborative Approach
Vasculitis can affect tissues and organs throughout the body, including the lungs, nerves, and skin. Our doctors work closely with specialists such as dermatologists, neurologists (nervous system specialists), nephrologists (kidney specialists), radiologists (imaging specialists), ophthalmologists (eye specialists), urologists (urinary system specialists), and cardiologists. Our team approach ensures you receive the most appropriate care plan for you.

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.

Patient Resources