In medicine(rheumatology), Wegener's granulomatosis is a form of vasculitisthat affects the lungs, kidneysand other organs. Due to its end-organ damage, it can be a serious disease that requires long-term immune suppression.
It is part of a larger group of vasculitic syndromes that all feature positivity for ANCAs(antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies) and affect small and medium-sized blood vessels. Apart from Wegener's, it includes Churg-Strauss syndromeand microscopic polyangiitis.
- 1 Signs and symptoms
- 2 Diagnosis
- 3 Criteria
- 4 Pathophysiology
- 5 Treatment
- 6 Epidemiology
- 7 Prognosis
- 8 History
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Signs and symptoms
Initial signs are protean, and diagnosis can be severely delayed due to the non-specific nature of the symptoms. The rhinitis is generally the first sign in most patients.
- Upper airway, eyeand eardisease:
- Nose: pain, stuffiness, nosebleeds, rhinitis, crusting, saddle-nose deformity
- Ears: conductive hearing lossdue to Eustachian tubedysfunction, sensorineural hearing loss (unclear mechanism)
- Eyes: pseudotumours, scleritis, conjunctivitis, uveitis, episcleritis
- Trachea: subglottal stenosis
- Lungs: pulmonary nodules, infiltrates (often interpreted as pneumonia), cavitary lesions, pulmonary haemorrhagecausing hemoptysis), and rarely bronchial stenosis.
- Kidney: rapidly progressive segmental necrotising glomerulonephritis(75%), leading to chronic renal failure
- Arthritis: Pain or swelling (60%), often initially diagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis
- Skin: nodules on the elbow, purpura, various others (see cutaneous vasculitis)
- Nervous system: occasionally sensory neuropathy(10%) and rarely mononeuritis multiplex
- Heart, gastrointestinal tract, brainother organs: rarely affected.
Vasculitis such as Wegener's granulomatosis is usually only suspected when a patient has had unexplained symptoms for a longer period of time. Determination of ANCAscan aid in the diagnosis, but positivity is not conclusive, and neither are negative ANCAs enough to reject the diagnosis. Cytoplasmic staining ANCAsthat react with proteinase 3(cANCA) are associated with Wegener's.
If the patient has renal failureor cutaneous vasculitis, these are the most logical organs to obtain a biopsyfrom. Rarely, thoracoscopiclung biopsy is required. On histopathologicalexamination, a biopsywill show leukocytoclastic vasculitis with necroticchanges and granulomatousinflammation. The latter is the main reason for the appellation of "Wegener's granulomatosis", although it is not an essential feature. Unfortunately, many biopsies can be aspecific and 50% provide too little information for the diagnosis of Wegener's.
Differential diagnosis can be extensive. ANCAs can be positive after the use of certain drugs, and other forms of vasculitiscan present with very similar symptoms. The saddle-nose deformity is also seen in cocaineabuse.
In 1990, the American College of Rheumatologyaccepted classification criteria for Wegener's (Leavitt et al 1990). They were not intended for diagnosis, but for inclusion in randomised controlled trials. Two or more positive criteria have a sensitivity of 88.2% and a specificity of 92.0% of describing Wegener's.
- Nasal or oral inflammation:
- painful or painless oral ulcers or
- purulentor bloody nasal discharge
- Lungs: abnormal chest X-ray with:
- infiltrates or
- Kidneys: urinary sediment with:
- red cell casts
- Biopsy: granulomatous inflammation
- within the arterial wall or
- in the perivascular area
According to the Chapel Hill Consensus Conference (CHCC)on the Nomenclature of Systemic Vasculitis (1992), establishing the diagnosis of Wegener´s granulomatosis demands:
- a granulomatousinflammation involving the respiratory tract, and
- a vasculitisof small- to medium-sized vessels.
Inflammationwith granulomaformation against a nonspecific inflammatory background is the classical tissue abnormality in all organs affected by Wegener's granulomatosis.
It is now widely presumed that the anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies(ANCAs) are responsible for the inflammation in Wegener's. The typical ANCAs in Wegener's are those that react with proteinase 3, an enzyme prevalent in neutrophil granulocytes.
ANCAs activate neutrophils, increase their adherence to endothelium, and lead to their degranulation. This causes extensive damage to the vessel wall, particularly of arterioles.
The exact cause for the production of ANCAs is unknown, although some drugshave been implicated in secondary forms of Wegener's. As with many autoimmune disorders, the cause is probably genetic predisposition combined with molecular mimicrycaused by a virusor bacterium.
Initial treatment is generally with corticosteroidsand oral cyclophosphamide(CYC), 1 mg/kg/day and 2 mg/kg/day respectively. Occasionally CYC is given in monthly IV doses. Monitoring of the white blood countis essential during CYC therapy. Once remission is attained (normally 3 to 6 months), treatment is frequently changed to azathioprineor methotrexate, which are less toxic drugs. Total duration of therapy should be at least 1 year, or longer in high risk patients. Corticosteroids are tapered to a low maintenance dose, 5-10 mg/day. Plasmapherisismay be beneficial in severe disease or pulmonary hemorrhage. Experience with other treatment agents is very limited.
Alternative treatments include:
- Etanercept: a drug tried on Wegener's with negative results.
- Rituximab: a very promising drug currently in clinical trials. It has been successful when used several times as a compassionate treatment for those who cannot tolerate CYC.
- Chlorambucil: a powerful immunosuppressant that has been used instead of in some cases.
- Mycophenolate mofetil: a drug similar to Azathioprine
Non-immunosuppressive therapies are:
- Co-trimoxazole: A wide-range antibiotic often administered in conjunction with immunosuppressants. Sometimes even administered as a treatment for Wegener's.
- Folic acid: Often administered in addition to some of the above immunosuppressants.
- IVIg: A blood product containing immunoglobulins given to patients to bolster their immune system.
Follow-up: general well being and laboratory organ markers are checked on a regular basis to ascertain the patient has remained in remission.
In some patients with severe subglottic stenosis, tracheotomyis required to maintain an airway.
The incidenceis 8.5 cases per million per year. 90% of the patients are whites. While it mainly occurs in the middle-aged, it has been reported in much younger and older patients.
25 to 40% of patients suffer from flare-ups, but a majority responds well to treatment. Anatomical problems (sinusitis, tracheal stenosis) may require surgery in a small proportion. Relapses can be long and troublesome.
Long-term complications are very common (86%): mainly chronic renal failure, hearing loss and deafness.
A certain Peter McBride (1854-1946) first described the condition in 1897in a British medical journal, especially the characteristic nasal deformation. Heinz Karl Ernst Klinger (1907-) would add information on the anatomical pathology, but the full picture was presented by Friedrich Wegener (1907-1990), a Germanpathologist, in two reports in 1936and 1939.
- Leavitt RY, Fauci AS, Bloch DA, Michel BA, Hunder GG, Arend WP, et al. The American College of Rheumatology 1990 criteria for the classification of Wegener's granulomatosis. Arthritis Rheum 1990;33:1101-7. PMID 2202308.
- Seo P, Stone JH. The antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitides. Am J Med 2004;117:39-50. PMID 15210387.
- Classification criteriaby the American College of Rheumatology
- WhoNamedIt.comentry on Wegener's, with links to the originators of the eponym
- Wegener's Granulomatosis Association
- Wegener's Granulomatosis Infode:Wegener-Granulomatose
fr:Granulomatose de Wegener
nl:Ziekte van Wegener
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It uses material from the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wegener%27s+granulomatosis Wikipedia article Wegener's granulomatosis.