Search Encyclopedia:    
List of Topics Print This Page
 

Takayasu arteritis


Definition:

Takayasu arteritis is an inflammation of the aorta -- the artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body -- and its major branches.

See also: Aortic arch syndrome

Alternative Names:

Pulseless disease

Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

The cause of Takayasu arteritis is unknown. The disease occurs mainly in children and women younger than 30, especially those who are of Asian or African descent.

It appears to be an autoimmune condition, where immune cells are wrongly targeted against the body's own tissues, and it may involve other systems.

Symptoms:
  • Arm weakness or pain with use
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Lightheadedness
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Skin rash
  • Night sweats
  • Vision changes
  • Weight loss
Signs and tests:
  • Decreased radial pulses (at the wrist)
  • Difference in blood pressure between the two arms
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

There may also be signs of inflammation (pericarditis or pleuritis).

Tests:

Treatment:

Treatment of Takayasu arteritis is difficult, but patients who do have the right treatment can see positive results. Early detection is important.

Most patients are treated with steroids and immunosuppressive drugs. Surgery is reserved for complications caused by narrowed arteries.

Surgery to bypass narrowed arteries -- angioplasty or stent placement -- may be needed to supply blood or open up the constriction.

Expectations (prognosis):

This disease can be fatal. However, with a combination of aggressive medical and surgical treatment, death rates have dropped dramatically.

In well managed cases of Takayasu arteritis, the long-term survival rate is greater than 90%. The survival rate is better for adults than for children.

Complications:
  • Blood clot
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Pericarditis
  • Pleuritis
  • Stroke
Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of this condition. Weak pulse, chest pain, and breathing difficulty require immediate care.

References:
Maksimowicz-McKinnon K, Hoffman GS. Takayasu arteritis: what is the long-term prognosis? Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2007;33:777-786.

Review Date: 2/2/2012
Reviewed By: Ariel D. Teitel, MD, MBA, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

   View History
  Takayasu arteritis

   
   

 

About UPHS   Contact Us   Site Map   Privacy Statement   Legal Disclaimer   Terms of Use

The University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, PA 1-800-789-PENN © 2014, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania