What is Takayasu’s Arteritis?
Takayasu's arteritis, often known as Takayasu disease is an uncommon type of vasculitis characterized by inflammation that damages medium and large arteries. The aorta and its branches are commonly affected.
What are the Causes of Takayasu’s Arteritis?
The exact causes of Takayasu's arteritis are unknown. It may be an autoimmune condition triggered by a virus or other infection. Women younger than 40 years are at a higher risk for developing the condition.
What are the Symptoms of Takayasu’s Arteritis?
Takayasu's arteritis signs and symptoms frequently occur in two stages. Symptoms of the first stage may include:
- Weight loss
- Muscle and joint pain
Second-stage symptoms may include:
- Headaches and dizziness
- Weak pulse
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- High blood pressure
- Memory problems or trouble thinking
- Diarrhea or blood in your stool
- Fatigue, pain, or aching in your arms and legs
Diagnosis of Takayasu’s Arteritis
Your doctor will review your medical history and symptoms and based on this a physical examination will be performed. The following diagnostic tests may also be ordered:
- Blood Tests: Blood tests are performed to check for any signs of inflammation.
- Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA): This is a diagnostic imaging procedure using radio waves and a strong magnetic field to create detailed images of the blood vessels.
- X-rays of your blood vessels (Angiography): A long, flexible tube (catheter) is inserted into a large blood vessel, and then contrast dye is injected into the blood vessel through the catheter. X-rays are then obtained of your arteries or veins.
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET): This imaging test measures the intensity of blood vessel inflammation. It is frequently combined with magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography.
- Computerized Tomography (CT) Angiography: This is another minimally invasive type of angiography that combines intravenous contrast dye and computerized image analysis of X-rays to allow your doctor to examine the structure of your aorta and its adjacent branches and track blood flow.
What are the Treatments for Takayasu’s Arteritis?
To manage the inflammation and stop future blood vessel damage, Takayasu's arteritis is typically treated with medicines. They include:
- Corticosteroids: A corticosteroid, such as prednisone, is typically used as the first line of treatment to control inflammation.
- Immune System Suppressing Medication: Your doctor may recommend medicines like leflunomide, azathioprine, and methotrexate. Some respond favorably to drugs like mycophenolate mofetil that were made for organ transplant recipients.
- Immune System Regulating Medication: The doctor may recommend medications that treat immune system abnormalities (biologics). Etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade), and tocilizumab are a few examples of biologics (Actemra).
Surgery is indicated if blood flow is severely restricted because of damage to the artery. The optimal time to use surgical treatments is after the artery inflammation has subsided and may consist of:
- Bypass surgery: This surgery creates a bypass for blood flow by removing an artery or vein from another area of your body and attaching it to the blocked artery.
- Blood Vessel Widening (percutaneous angioplasty): A small balloon is inserted into the damaged artery and inflated to broaden the arterial lumen before being deflated and removed.
- Aortic Valve Surgery: If the aortic valve is extensively leaking, surgical repair or replacement