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Necrotizing Vasculitis

Last updated May 4, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Necrotizing Vascullitis is a medical condition that results in inflammation of blood vessel walls.

What are the other Names for this Condition? (Also known as/Synonyms)

  • Vasculitis - necrotizing 

What is Necrotizing Vasculitis? (Definition/Background Information)

  • Necrotizing Vascullitis is a medical condition that results in inflammation of blood vessel walls.
  • Blood vessel inflammation restricts blood flow and oxygen supply to the body, causing damage and destruction of skin, tissue, and muscle. Often, this progresses and causes necrosis, death of tissues and organs. 

Who gets Necrotizing Vasculitis? (Age and Sex Distribution)

  • Both men and women of all ages can be affected by necrotizing vasculitis. Although the cause is currently unknown, medical professionals believe that people with autoimmune problems are more likely to be affected.
  • No racial, ethnic or geographic predilection is noted.

What are the Risk Factors for Necrotizing Vasculitis? (Predisposing Factors)

Common risk factors of necrotizing vasculitis include:

  • Decreased autoimmune system functioning
  • Hepatitis B
  • Kawasaki syndrome
  • Scleroderma
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Wegener’s granulomatosis

It is important to note that having a risk factor does not mean that one will get the condition. A risk factor increases ones chances of getting a condition compared to an individual without the risk factors. Some risk factors are more important than others.

Also, not having a risk factor does not mean that an individual will not get the condition. It is always important to discuss the effect of risk factors with your healthcare provider.

What are the Causes of Necrotizing Vasculitis? (Etiology)

  • Currently, the cause of necrotizing vasculitis is unknown. It is believed to be related to autoimmune factors as many people who have this condition also have other autoimmune disorders. 

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Necrotizing Vasculitis?

Common signs and symptoms of necrotizing vasculitis include:

  • Chills, Fatigue, Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia, Leukocytosis
  • Skin discoloration with ulcers
  • Kidney damage
  • Tissue death ( necrosis)
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Declined brain functioning

How is Necrotizing Vasculitis Diagnosed?

  • A complete physical examination and a through medical history
  • To diagnose necrotizing vasculitis, a blood test will be conducted. This will test for antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies, which, if present, indicate that necrotizing vasculitis is present.
  • To confirm the diagnosis, x-rays and biopsies of the effected area are often conducted. 

Many clinical conditions may have similar signs and symptoms. Your healthcare provider may perform additional tests to rule out other clinical conditions to arrive at a definitive diagnosis.

What are the possible Complications of Necrotizing Vasculitis?

If diagnosis and treatment are not done rapidly, the likelihood of permanent damage to the affected area is significantly increased. Secondary infections of dead tissue, skin, or muscle may also result.

How is Necrotizing Vasculitis Treated?

  • To treat necrotizing vasculitis, corticosteroids and immunosuppressive medications are often prescribed. These will help to reduce inflammation of the blood vessels, which could improve body functioning.
  • In cases of tissue infection, antibiotics are used

How can Necrotizing Vasculitis be Prevented?

  • Since little is known about the cause of necrotizing vasculitis, there are no known methods of preventing the condition. 

What is the Prognosis of Necrotizing Vasculitis? (Outcomes/Resolutions)

  • Outcomes for individuals with necrotizing vasculitis greatly vary depending on the location of inflammation and the severity of tissue damage.
  • With prompt diagnosis and treatment, most affected individuals are able to improve their condition and resume normal functioning.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information for Necrotizing Vasculitis:

The following DoveMed website link is a useful resource for additional information:


What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Sept. 23, 2013
Last updated: May 4, 2018