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Clinical Services at Rush Hypersensitivity Vasculitis

Hypersensitivity vasculitis (HSV)

What is the cause of hypersensitivity vasculitis?
What are the symptoms of hypersensitivity vasculitis?
How is the diagnosis of hypersensitivity vasculitis made?

What is the treatment for hypersensitivity vasculitis?
What is the prognosis for hypersensitivity vasculitis?

Hypersensitivity vasculitis (HSV) (also known as allergic vasculitis; cutaneous leukocytoclastic vasculitis) occurs when a drug, infection or foreign substance causes an extreme reaction in which the blood vessels of the skin become inflamed and damaged.

In addition to the skin, the joints, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, lungs, heart or central nervous system can become peripherally involved.

Most people diagnosed with HSV are more than 15 years old.

What is the cause of hypersensitivity vasculitis?

Even with a thorough history, the cause of this condition cannot be identified in up to 50 percent of patients. In other cases it can be associated with an infection, drug or a foreign substance.

What are the symptoms of hypersensitivity vasculitis?

  • Purple-colored spots and patches
  • Skin lesions, usually on legs, buttocks or trunk
  • Blisters on the skin
  • Hives (urticaria), which may last longer than 24 hours
  • Open sores with dead tissue (necrotic ulcers)

How is the diagnosis of hypersensitivity vasculitis made?

The diagnosis is based on symptoms and how the skin looks after the patient takes a certain medicine or is exposed to a foreign substance (antigen). Results from an erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) test may be high. A skin biopsy will show inflammation of the blood vessels.

What is the treatment for hypersensitivity vasculitis?

The goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation. Aspirin or corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation of the blood vessels. Colchicine (a medication used for gout) can sometimes be helpful. Cases with serious organ involvement may require high doses of corticosteroids (prednisone), possibly with an immunosuppressive agent such as cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), azathioprine (Imuran) or methotrexate. Biologic agents such as rituximab or intravenous immunoglobulin might be useful in treatment of the most debilitating cases.

What is the prognosis for hypersensitivity vasculitis?

Hypersensitivity vasculitis usually goes away over time, and the prognosis is good for patients whose disease affects primarily the skin and/or joints. On occasion, people will have repeated episodes.





Contact Name
Rush Vasculitis Clinic
Contact Phone
(312) 563-2800
Contact E-mail
contact_rush@rush.edu



Location
Orthopedic Building
1611 W. Harrison St., Suite 510
Chicago, IL 60612



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