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Radiographics. 2000 May-Jun;20(3):779-94.

Radiologic features of vasculitis involving the gastrointestinal tract.

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Department of Radiology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, 388-1 Poongnap Dong Songpa-Ku, Seoul 138-040, Korea.


Vasculitides can cause local or diffuse pathologic changes in the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in nonspecific paralytic ileus, mesenteric ischemia, submucosal edema and hemorrhage, or bowel perforation or stricture. The extent and clinical course of disease depend on the size and location of the affected vessel and the histologic characteristics of the lesion. Vasculitis may primarily involve large vessels (eg, giant cell arteritis, Takayasu arteritis), medium-sized vessels (eg, polyarteritis nodosa, Kawasaki disease, primary granulomatous central nervous system vasculitis), or small vessels (eg, Wegener granulomatosis, Churg-Strauss syndrome, microscopic polyangiitis, Henoch-Schönlein syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid vasculitis, Behçet syndrome). Radiologic findings in various types of vasculitis often overlap considerably and therefore have limited value in making a specific diagnosis. Nevertheless, the possibility of vasculitis should be considered whenever mesenteric ischemic changes occur in young patients, are noted at unusual sites (eg, stomach, duodenum, rectum), have a tendency to concomitantly involve the small and large intestine, and are associated with genitourinary involvement. Knowledge of systemic clinical manifestations in affected patients may suggest and even help establish the specific diagnosis.

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