Takayasu’s arteritis is a condition that involves the inflammation of the body’s large arteries, such as the aorta and its major branches. The aorta is the very large artery that carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
Commonly Associated With
Pulseless disease and Large-vessel vasculitis
Cause Of Takayasu’s Arteritis
What exactly causes Takayasu’s arteritis to develop is currently unknown. However, it is thought to be some form of an autoimmune condition, in which the person’s immune system accidentally attacks healthy blood vessel wall tissue instead of foreign invaders. The condition may also affect other organ systems besides the vessels.
This particular condition is most common in children and in women ages 20-40, especially for those of Indian, East Asian, or Mexican descent. However, it is becoming more common in other areas of the world as of late.
This disorder is most similar to temporal arteritis or giant cell arteritis, although those conditions are normally found in older people.
Symptoms of Takayasu’s arteritis can include:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Difference in blood pressure readings taken between the person’s arms
- Inflammation (such as pericarditis or pleuritis)
- Decreased radial (wrist) pulses
- Vision changes
- Muscle or joint pain
- Weakness or pain in the arms after use
- Chest pain
- Skin rash
- Night sweats
- Unintentional weight loss
Exams & Tests
Diagnosis of Takayasu’s arteritis depends on the person’s symptoms and whether imaging tests then show blood vessel abnormalities consistent with chronic inflammation.
Other possible tests, however, can include:
- Ultrasound of blood vessels
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- X-ray of the chest
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Angiogram, including coronary angiography
- C-reactive protein (CRP)
- Positron emission tomography (PET)
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
- Computed tomography angiography (CTA)
Treatment Of Takayasu’s Arteritis
Takayasu’s arteritis can often be difficult to treat. However, improvement with the right treatment is possible for most. This condition tends to be chronic, and therefore it’s best to identify it as early as possible. Long-term use of anti-inflammatory medications is also often needed.
Common medications prescribed for this condition include:
- Corticosteroids, such as prednisone
- Immunosuppressive medications, such as leflunomide, methotrexate, mycophenolate, azathioprine, or cyclophosphamide
- Biologic agents such as etanercept, infliximab, and tocilizumab
Other treatment options exist, such as surgery. For example, angioplasty could be used to open up narrowed arteries or relieve constriction to improve blood flow.
In some cases, aortic valve replacement may be necessary.