Takayasu arteritis and cutaneous necrotizing vasculitis

Dermatology. 2000;200(2):139-43. doi: 10.1159/000018348.


Takayasu arteritis (TA) is an inflammatory arteriopathy involving predominantly the aorta and its main branches. The disease evolves in two phases: a first, nonspecific inflammatory stage and a late 'pulseless' stage, in which complications related to arterial stenosis and aneurysm formation predominate. In both phases, skin manifestations, such as inflammatory nodules, erythema-nodosum- and pyoderma-gangrenosum-like ulcers, have been described. We report 2 patients with TA, who had cutaneous necrotizing vasculitis as presenting manifestation of the disease. A review of the literature revealed 8 similar cases. TA does not only involve large arteries, but also small blood vessels. The observation that in TA the inflammatory process of the large arteries affects regions of the walls supplied by the vasa vasorum, the anatomy of which bears resemblance to the cutaneous vessel system, suggests that primary involvement of small vessels contributes to the development of the clinicopathological features of TA. Knowledge of the skin manifestations associated with TA remains important for its diagnosis and prompt instauration of life-saving treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Necrosis
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Diseases, Vascular / complications*
  • Skin Diseases, Vascular / pathology
  • Takayasu Arteritis / complications*
  • Takayasu Arteritis / pathology
  • Vasculitis / complications*
  • Vasculitis / pathology