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Is vasculitis chronic and hereditary?



My mother has had several very severe bouts of vasculitis in her lower legs. Finally after surgery, several months in rehab, a skin graft, and constant use of prednisone, she is able to walk with a cane. Is this something that is likely to recur? Is this something that my sisters and I are likely to inherit a predisposition to? If so, is there anything we can do to reduce our chances of someday getting vasculitis?


Vasculitis denotes any condition that causes inflammation of blood vessels. There are different types of vasculitis. The most common form involving the skin of the lower extremities is Hypersensitivity Vasculitis (also known as Leukocytoclastic Vasculitis).

Hypersensitivity Vasculitis (HSV) as the name implies is often the result of an immunological reaction to some substance frequently medicines. However, there are many other possible causes. The disorder can occur as a manifestation of several types of infections, and tumors both benign and malignant. Hypersensitivity Vasculitis can be the result of the Connective Tissue Diseases including Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. However, heredity does not seem to be a factor (Valente, R.M. et al (1998). Vasculitic syndromes. In Oxford Textbook of Rheumatology, (2nd edn). (ed. P.J. Maddison, D. A. Isenberg, P. Woo, D.N. Glass), pp. 1079-1122. Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York, & Tokyo)

If the cause is not found and eliminated the vasculitis can reoccur. There is no special way of preventing this disease accept for avoiding possible causes which usually is not feasible

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Response by:

Larry   Houk, MD Larry Houk, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine and Rheumatology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati