Vasculitis

Vasculitis means inflammation of the blood vessels. It is a rare condition and there are several different types each causing different symptoms and signs, depending on which area of the body is affected.

Many people with vasculitis will feel generally unwell with fever, sweats and weight loss. Other problems might include skin rashes, eye inflammation, joint pains and swelling, nose bleeds and breathing problems.

Some forms of vasculitis can be triggered by drugs and infections and can resolve without treatment, other forms occur in the context of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Most forms have no known trigger and progress without treatment.

About our service

Depending on your symptoms, you may have already been seen by a doctor who specialises in the part of your body affected.

This might include a doctor who specialises in the eye, nose, lungs or kidneys.

The first step is often to make sure you don’t have another explanation for your symptoms, such as an infection.

In reaching a diagnosis you may need a “biopsy” where a small sample of affected tissue is removed to look for blood vessel inflammation under a microscope. Blood tests are also useful in helping reach a diagnosis.

Patients with vasculitis may be seen in a variety of clinics including community clinics if stable. The joint vasculitis clinic runs in main medical outpatients.

Your appointment letter will tell you where to attend.

Treatments

Once a diagnosis is reached, treatment generally involves the use of medications to dampen an overactive immune system.

This would usually include steroid tablets or injections and can include stronger treatments.

The exact nature of the treatment will depend on your specific type of vasculitis.

Patient information leaflets

We produce a wide range of leaflets which provide information about our services and about the treatment you might receive in our clinics or during your stay in hospital. 

We also produce these in different formats including large print, please contact the department you are visiting for more information.

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Useful videos

We have a wide range of videos which provide information about our services and about the treatment you might receive in our clinics or during your stay in hospital. 

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Information for healthcare professionals

Further information including referral criteria can be found at the Devon Formulary website

Last updated: September 20, 2022.

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