The vasculitides comprise a heterogeneous group of diseases with the common histopathologic feature of inflammation and necrosis of blood vessel walls. The etiologic factors associated with triggering of endothelial injury include: infections, drugs, autoantibodies, malignancies, abnormal circulating proteins, and underlying systemic disease. Half of all cases, however, do not present a clear etiology or association and are considered idiopathic. The varied causes coupled with the myriad of clinical presentations and an imperfect classification system can make the diagnosis of specific forms of vasculitis difficult. Physicians need to integrate clinical assessment with laboratory data in order to differentiate between the disorders where the vasculitic process represents a benign, self-limited disease from those that may be severe or even life threatening. Rapid and accurate diagnosis leads to optimal treatment options.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||14|
|State||Published - May 1 2001|
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