Your doctor likely will start by taking your medical history and performing a physical exam. He or she may have you undergo one or more diagnostic tests and procedures, such as the following:
Oct. 08, 2014
- Blood tests. These tests can be used to look for signs of inflammation, such as a high level of C-reactive protein. A complete blood cell count can tell whether you have enough red blood cells. A blood test that looks for certain antibodies — the anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies test — may be helpful in diagnosing vasculitis.
- Urine tests. These tests may reveal whether your urine contains red blood cells or has too much protein, which can signal a medical problem.
- Imaging tests. Noninvasive imaging techniques can help determine what blood vessels and organs are affected. They can also help the doctor monitor whether you are responding to treatment. Imaging tests for vasculitis include X-rays, ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET).
- X-rays of your blood vessels (angiography). During this procedure, a flexible catheter, resembling a thin straw, is inserted into a large artery or vein. A special dye (contrast medium) is then injected into the catheter, and X-rays are taken as the dye fills these arteries or veins. The outlines of your blood vessels are visible on the resulting X-rays.
- Biopsy. This is a surgical procedure in which your doctor removes a small sample of tissue from the affected area of your body. Your doctor then examines this tissue for signs of vasculitis.
- What is vasculitis? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/vas/. Accessed July 16, 2014.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed July 16, 2014.
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- Merkel PA. Overview of the management of vasculitis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 17, 2014.
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- Murphy JG, et al., eds. Mayo Clinic Cardiology: Concise Textbook. 4th ed. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press; 2013.
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- Weyand CM, et al. Giant-cell arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica. New England Journal of Medicine. 2014;371:50.
- Dammacco F, et al. Therapy for hepatitis C virus-related cryoglobulinemic vasculitis. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013;369:1035.
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- Specks U, et al. Efficacy of remission-induction regimens for ANCA-associated vasculitis. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013;369:417.
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