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Vasculitis in childhood

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Systemic vasculitic syndromes are rare in childhood. Vasculitis is the predominant feature of a large number of different clinical entities that are linked by the presence of inflammatory changes in the blood vessels. The nature of these diseases and their relationship to each other remain unclear. The clinical presentation associated with the size of the affected vessels and epidemiological data are very helpful for the diagnosis of those diseases. Recent advances are beginning to shed some light on the etiology and pathogenetic mechanisms involved in the various vasculitides. There is good evidence to support roles for circulating immune complexes, cell-mediated immunity, anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies and anti-endothelial cell antibodies in the pathogenesis. Renal involvement in vasculitis in children is commonly seen in Henoch-Schönlein purpura, microscopic polyarteritis, Wegener's granulomatosis, Churg-Strauss syndrome and polyarteritis nodosa. However, kidney disease can also be part of the clinical picture of Kawasaki disease and Takayasu arteritis. Recently, with the institution of early and aggressive immunosuppressive treatment of severe cases, significant improvement in the long-term survival of patients has been achieved. This review article addresses the pathological and clinical features (particularly renal involvement), therapeutic intervention and prognosis of the above-mentioned diseases.

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Correspondence to Isabel Roberti.

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Roberti, I., Reisman, L. & Churg, J. Vasculitis in childhood. Pediatr Nephrol 7, 479–489 (1993).

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Key words

  • Vasculitis
  • Polyarteritis nodosa
  • Churg-Strauss syndrome
  • Kawasaki disease
  • Wegener's granulomatosis
  • Takayasu arteritis
  • Henoch-Schönlein purpura
  • Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies