Takayasu Arteritis

Takayasu arteritis causes tiredness, fever, pain, and weight loss. Or you may not feel any symptoms. Either way, this condition can have serious outcomes. Getting treated can help.  

Takayasu arteritis is a kind of swelling in your aorta and the arteries that branch off of it. It may lead to blockages or aneurysms.

The exact cause isn’t known. It may be an autoimmune disease where the body's immune system wrongly attacks healthy tissue.

At UVA, our team of heart and vascular experts has been recognized for our high-quality heart care, especially in aortic, valve, and bypass surgery. We have the experience to identify and treat your Takayasu arteritis. We'll work closely with you to find your best treatment options.

Treating Takayasu Arteritis

Takayasu arteritis is a chronic condition. That means we can treat it, but it won’t go away completely . The swelling will come and go, for better or worse.

Treating Takayasu arteritis involves controlling the swelling with medicine. We treat Takayasu arteritis with:

  • Corticosteroids (to reduce swelling)
  • Immunosuppressants (to help the corticosteroids reduce swelling)
  • Biologics (when other medicines don’t work)

If you have blockages in your blood vessels, you might also need surgery.

Takayasu Arteritis Symptoms

Symptoms usually appear in two stages. In the early stage, you might have no symptoms at all. Or you could feel:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Pain in joint or muscles

Symptoms in the later stage might include:

  • Pain, including headaches, chest pain, or pain with movement
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble seeing properly
  • High blood pressure
  • Anemia

Diagnosing Takayasu Arteritis

Takayasu arteritis is most commonly diagnosed in women of Asian descent who are between ages 15 and 40. We can diagnose you using:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Angiography
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Blood tests