Health Questions and Answers

Question: Which conditions commonly mimic systemic vasculitis?

Answer:

Bacterial endocarditis, atrial myxoma, and multiple cholesterol embolization syndrome have many of the same presenting signs and symptoms as systemic vasculitis. Thrombotic states, including hypercoagulability (as occurs with phospholipid antibodies), cryoglobulinemia, hemoglobinopathies, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, or hemolytic uremic syndrome, may be confused with vasculitis. Drugs that induce vasospasm (cocaine, ergots, and other sympathomimetics) sometimes produce the arteriographic appearance of vasculitis. Finally, processes that produce vascular malformation, such as fibromuscular disease and moyamoya, may be included in the differential diagnosis of vasculitis.

Reference: Sack KE: Mimickers of vasculitis. In Koopman WJ (ed): Arthritis and Allied Conditions, 13th ed. Baltimore, Williams & Wilkins, 1997, pp 1525-1546.

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