Vasculitis, also known as angiitis or arteritis, is a group of diseases characterized by inflammation and subsequent damage of the walls of blood vessels.
The causes of these conditions are not fully understood, but they tend to be autoimmune in origin, and as such, involve abnormalities of the immune system and inflammatory changes of the vascular wall. Examples include Kawasaki disease, Behcet’s disease, polyarteritis nodosa, Wegener’s granulomatosis, cryoglobulinemia, Takayasu’s arteritis, and giant cell arteritis. At times, vasculitis accompanies certain infections (such as hepatitis and herpes zoster), use of certain chemicals (such as cocaine), cancers (such as lymphoma and multiple myeloma), and collagen vascular diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus). Symptoms reflect the specific organ involved.
Cerebral vasculitis is not common, but has significant implications. It is seen in systemic...