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Alternative Names Return to topPulseless disease
Definition Return to top
Takayasu arteritis is an inflammation of the aorta -- the artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body -- and its major branches.
Causes Return to top
The cause of Takayasu arteritis is unknown. The disease occurs mainly in children and women younger than 30, especially those who are of Asian or African descent.
It appears to be an autoimmune condition, where immune cells are wrongly targeted against the body's own tissues, and it may involve other systems.
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
There may also be signs of inflammation (pericarditis or pleuritis).
Treatment Return to top
Treatment of Takayasu arteritis is difficult, but patients who do have the right treatment can see positive results. Early detection is important.
Most patients are treated with steroids and immunosuppressive drugs. Surgery is reserved for complications caused by narrowed arteries.
Surgery to bypass narrowed arteries -- angioplasty or stent placement -- may be needed to supply blood or open up the constriction.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
This disease can be fatal. However, with a combination of aggressive medical and surgical treatment, death rates have dropped dramatically.
In well-managed cases of Takayasu arteritis, the long-term survival rate is greater than 90%. The survival rate is better for adults than for children.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of this condition. Weak pulse, chest pain, and breathing difficulty require immediate care.
References Return to topMaksimowicz-McKinnon K, Hoffman GS. Takayasu arteritis: what is the long-term prognosis? Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2007;33:777-786. Update Date: 1/17/2008 Updated by: Neil J. Gonter, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Columbia University, NY and private practice specializing in Rheumatology at Rheumatology Associates of North Jersey, Teaneck, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.