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Vasculitis including Temporal Arteritis Information Page

Synonyms: Temporal Arteritis, Cranial Arteritis, Giant Cell Arteritis

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Updated: September 9, 2006

NINDS

What is Vasculitis including Temporal Arteritis?
Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessel system, which includes the veins, arteries, and capillaries. Vasculitis may affect blood vessels of any type, size, or location, and therefore can cause dysfunction in any organ system, including the central and peripheral nervous systems. The symptoms of vasculitis depend on which blood vessels are involved and what organs in the body are affected. The disorder may occur alone or with other disorders such as temporal arteritis. Temporal arteritis (also called cranial or giant cell arteritis) is an inflammation of the temporal artery (which runs over the temple, beside the eye). Symptoms of this disorder may include stiffness, muscle pain, fever, severe headaches, pain when chewing, and tenderness in the temple area. Other symptoms may include anemia, fatigue, weight loss, shaking, vision loss, and sweats.

Is there any treatment?
Treatment for vasculitis depends on the severity of the disorder and the individual's general health. Treatment may include cortisone or cytotoxic drugs. Other treatments may include plasmapheresis (the removal and reinfusion of blood plasma), intravenous gammaglobulin, and cyclosporin. Some cases of vasculitis may not require treatment. Treatment for temporal arteritis and its associated symptoms generally includes corticosteroid therapy. Early detection of temporal arteritis and immediate treatment are essential to prevent vision loss.

What is the prognosis?
The prognosis for individuals with vasculitis varies depending on the severity of the disorder. Mild cases of vasculitis are generally not life-threatening, while severe cases (involving major organ systems) may be permanently disabling or fatal. The prognosis for individuals with temporal arteritis is generally good. With treatment, most individuals achieve complete remission, however vision loss may be irreversible.

What research is being done?
Several components of the NIH support research on vasculitis and temporal arteritis. The ultimate goals of this research are to increase scientific understanding of these disorders and to find ways to prevent, treat, and cure them.

Organizations

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association
22100 Gratiot Avenue
Eastpointe
East Detroit, MI   48201-2227
aarda@aol.com
http://www.aarda.org/
Tel: 586-776-3900 800-598-4668
Fax: 586-776-3903

National Eye Institute (NEI)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Rm. 6A32 MSC 2510
Bethesda, MD   20892-2510
2020@nei.nih.gov
http://www.nei.nih.gov/
Tel: 301-496-5248 Bulk Publications Orders: 800-869-2020

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
6610 Rockledge Drive, MSC 6612
Bethesda, MD   20892-6612
http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/
Tel: 301-496-5717

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
P.O. Box 1968
(55 Kenosia Avenue)
Danbury, CT   06813-1968
orphan@rarediseases.org
http://www.rarediseases.org/
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-798-2291

_________________________________
Prepared by:
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892

NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history.

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