Rheumatic Purpura

Rheumatic Purpura
Rheumatic Purpura

Overview Of Rheumatic Purpura

Rheumatic Purpura is synonymous with the term IgA Vasculitis. IgA Vasculitis  (Immunoglobulin A Vasculitis) is a disease that involves purple spots on the skin, joint pain, gastrointestinal problems, and glomerulonephritis (a type of kidney disorder). It is also known as Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP).

Commonly Associated With

Immunoglobulin A vasculitis; Leukocytoclastic vasculitis

Causes Of Rheumatic Purpura

IgA vasculitis is caused by an abnormal response of the immune system. The result is inflammation in the microscopic blood vessels in the skin. Blood vessels in the joints, kidneys, or intestines may also be affected. It is unclear why this occurs.

The syndrome is mostly seen in children between ages 3 and 15 years, but it may be seen in adults. It is more common in boys than in girls. Many people who develop this disease had an upper respiratory infection in the weeks before.

Symptoms Of Rheumatic Purpura

Symptoms and features of IgA vasculitis may include:

  • Purple spots on the skin (purpura). This occurs in nearly all children with rheumatic purpura. This most often occurs over the buttocks, lower legs, and elbows.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Joint pain.
  • Abnormal urine (may have no symptoms).
  • Diarrhea, sometimes bloody.
  • Hives or angioedema.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Swelling and pain in the scrotum of boys.
  • Headache.

Exams & Tests

The health care provider will look at your body and look at your skin. The physical exam will show skin sores (purpura, lesions) and joint tenderness.

Tests for rheumatic purpura may include:

  • Urinalysis should be done in all cases.
  • Complete blood count. The platelet should be normal.
  • Coagulation tests: these should be normal.
  • Skin biopsy, especially in adults.
  • Blood tests to look for other causes of blood vessel inflammation, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, ANCA-associated vasculitis, or hepatitis.
  • In adults, a kidney biopsy should be done.
  • Imaging tests of the abdomen if the pain is present.

Treatment Of Rheumatic Purpura

There is no specific treatment. Most cases go away on their own. Joint pain may improve with NSAIDs such as naproxen. If symptoms do not go away, you may be prescribed a corticosteroid medicine such as prednisone.