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Arthritis Rheum. 2000 May;43(5):1021-32.

An interdisciplinary approach to the care of patients with Wegener's granulomatosis: long-term outcome in 155 patients.

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Medical University of Lübeck, and Rheumaklinik Bad Bramstedt GmbH, Bad Bramstedt, Germany.

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  • Arthritis Rheum. 2000 Oct;43(10):2379.



To examine the outcome in 155 consecutive patients with Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) followed up for a median of 7 years.


Treatment was adapted to the activity and extent of disease, with regular evaluation by an interdisciplinary team accompanied by group education about vasculitis.


The estimated median survival time was 21.7 years (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 15.60-27.86). Twenty-two patients died; 19 deaths were attributable to WG and/or its treatment. Significant predictors of survival at diagnosis were age >50 years (hazard ratio [HR] 5.45, 95% CI 1.97-15.02), kidney involvement with impaired renal function (HR 5.42, 95% CI 1.76-16.68), and lung involvement (HR 3.75, 95% CI 1.26-11.16). At some stage, 142 patients received prednisone and cyclophosphamide (CYC), usually as daily CYC plus mesna as uroprotection, 50 patients received trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, and 45 received methotrexate. Complete remission was achieved in 83 of the 155 patients. One or more relapses occurred in 99 patients after either complete or partial remission. CYC-induced cystitis and myelodysplastic syndrome occurred in 17 and 11 patients, respectively. A cumulative dose of 100 gm or more of CYC resulted in a 2-fold greater risk of CYC-related morbidity than with lower CYC doses. Serious infections occurred in 41 patients.


An interdisciplinary approach to the care of 155 WG patients resulted in a median survival of >21 years. Kidney or lung involvement at diagnosis was predictive of a >3-fold higher mortality. Although CYC remains essential in the treatment of WG, it was administered as briefly as possible and under close surveillance to avoid permanent CYC-related morbidity, which can lead to serious therapeutic problems in chronic relapsing WG.

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