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Inflammatory Arteritis

Inflammatory arteritis is inflammation of the aorta — the body's largest artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body

condition

Definition

Inflammatory arteritis is inflammation of the aorta — the body's largest artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body — caused by disorders in connective tissue (such as ligaments and tendons). Inflammatory arteritis can cause blockages in the aorta or aneurysms.

Causes

  • Takayasu's arteritis
  • Giant cell (temporal) arteritis
  • Radiation arteritis

Risk

The risk factors for inflammatory arteritis are unknown.

Symptoms

  • High blood pressure or difference in blood pressure between the arms
  • Weak or absent wrist pulse
  • Fever
  • Inflammation
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rash
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss
diagnosis

Diagnosis

  • Ultrasound: The ultrasound's high-frequency sound waves provide a doctor with a picture of the aortic wall and blood flow in the arteries and help determine whether there is any narrowing. With inflammatory aortic aneurysms, there are often characteristic findings discovered with ultrasound.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Angiography scan: X-ray slices of arteries are taken to determine if there are any areas with poor blood flow or narrow arteries. A contrast agent — similar to a dye — is injected to make it easier to see the aorta.
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA): Radio waves and magnetic fields are used to show areas of poor blood flow. Patients are injected with a contrast material — similar to a dye — to make blood vessels more visible.
treatment

Treatment

  • Medication: The most common treatment for inflammatory arteritis is medication with steroids to reduce inflammation and sometimes immunosuppressive drugs to lessen the inflammatory changes in the arteries. It is the treatment of choice and all that is necessary for treating giant cell arteritis. Steriod treatment also benefits the other causes of inflammatory arteritis.
  • Surgery: Surgery is sometimes necessary, especially for patients with Takayasu's arteritis, to bypass portions of arteries narrowed by the disease or to repair aneurysms caused by the disease. It is usually needed in almost 20 percent of patients.
Free Vascular Lecture

Learn how to manage your risk for common vascular conditions like heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease (PAD) and varicose veins.

When: Thursday, Sept. 25, 6–7:30 p.m.

Where: Omni Charlottesville Hotel

Free parking and light refreshments.

Register now.

Vascular Screenings

Are You Eligible? 

Just because you don't have symptoms of vascular disease doesn't mean you aren't at risk. We offer screenings every week at Northridge Medical Park.

Eligible patients include:

  • Age 65 or older
  • Age 50 or older with cardiovascular risk factors
  • Adults 45 years or older and an abnormal finding would prompt modification of your lifestyle or medical care
  • Family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm 

Insurance doesn't cover screenings if you aren't experiencing symptoms. The out-of-pocket cost is $99 for all tests.

Find out more (PDF) or call 434.924.5824.

Care for Your Child

If your child has to see a heart specialist, it’s important they visit a doctor who understands the needs of kids. 

At UVA, our doctors are experts in the special kind of care children need.

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