Objective: Early diagnosis of Takayasu arteritis in the acute stage (prepulseless stage) is extremely difficult. Identification of a useful approach to detecting the initial changes of arteritis is therefore desirable.
Methods: Careful clinical examination of a young woman with persistent fever and dry cough revealed faintly audible bruits at the cervical, supraclavicular, and abdominal regions. Aortographic features suggested thickening of the wall of the descending thoracic aorta. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of this area was diagnostic.
Results: MRI demonstrated involvement of the ascending aorta and right main pulmonary artery. Steroid therapy (prednisolone 60 mg/day) induced dramatic clinical and radiologic improvement in 2 months.
Conclusion: This is the first report of MRI-documented reduction in the thickness of the walls of both the aorta and the pulmonary artery following steroid therapy.