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Vascular Surgery

Vasculitis

11/26/2007

Question:

My mother died two years ago after a 4-month long battle with vasculitis. Her initial symptoms were that she could not walk or "feel her feet". She also had paralysis of her right hand. After numerous tests, doctors were at a loss as to what her condition was but shortly before she died they said she had vasculitis.

My hypothetical question is, could an earlier diagnosis of her disease have prevented her death? What could have been done?

Answer:

While patient's can develop vasculitis, it in and of itself is generally not something fatal. It can lead to circulation problems in the legs resulting potentially, in extreme cases, amputation or unusual causes of pancreatitis or stroke. Vasculitis is a very generic term which essentially describes an inflammation of a vessel. Aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications such as steroids are used to treat it, but again, vasculitis itself does not cause death.

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Response by:

Amy B Reed, MD Amy B Reed, MD
No longer associated