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What is it?

Vasculitis refers to a rare group of conditions where there is inflammation of blood vessels. There are various different types of vasculitis, which can be classified either according to the size of the blood vessels damaged or according to the part of the body affected, and also whether there is any underlying disease. It is also useful to know whether the patient has the ANCA (anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic) antibody in the blood. Vasculitis can be divided accordingly in various ways:


There is a group of vasculitic conditions known as primary systemic vasculitis, so called because they affect the whole body (systemic), and are primary (there is no underlying condition). Examples of these conditions are Wegener’s granulomatosis, microscopic polyarteritis/polyangiitis and Churg-Strauss syndrome.

Vessel sizeANCA-positiveANCA-negative
Large   Giant cell arteritis
Takayasu’s arteritis
Medium   Polyarteritis nodosa
Kawasaki’s disease
Small Wegener’s granulomatosis
Microscopic polyarteritis
Churg-Strauss syndrome
Henoch-Schonlein purpura
Hypersensitivity vasculitis
Cryoglobulinaemic vasculitis

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