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Alternative namesPulseless disease
DefinitionTakayasu arteritis is an inflammmation of the aorta and its major branches.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The cause of Takayasu arteritis is unknown. The disease occurs primarily in children and young women younger than 30, many of whom 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 may involve other systems.
Signs and tests
There may also be signs of inflammation of the lining around the heart ( pericarditis ) or inflammation of the lining of the lungs ( pleuritis ).
Treatment of Takayasu arteritis is difficult, but results with appropriate therapy are encouraging. Early detection is important. Steroids and immunosuppressive agents form the cornerstone of treatment, with surgery reserved for complications caused by narrowed arteries.
Surgery to bypass narrowed arteries may be necessary to supply blood beyond the constriction.
This disease can be fatal. However, with a combination of aggressive medical and surgical therapy, mortality (death) rates have dropped dramatically. In well-managed cases of Takayasu arteritis, the long-term survival rate is greater than 90%.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of this condition. Weak pulses, chest pain , and difficulty breathing indicate a need to be seen immediately.
Update Date: 5/30/2002Arinder Chadha, M.D., Rheumatology Department, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT