Objective: Takayasu's arteritis (TA) is a rare vasculitis. The Italian Takayasu's Arteritis study group was established with the aim to describe a large cohort of patients.
Methods: Data were collected by means of an ad hoc form. Demographic information, clinical history, vascular findings, treatment, risk factors, and comorbidities were analyzed.
Results: Data of 104 patients were collected. The median delay in diagnosis was 15.5 months (range 0-325 months). Age at onset <15 years was associated with a higher probability, whereas elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate with a lower probability, of a delay in diagnosis. The majority of patients experienced nonspecific signs and symptoms indicative of an inflammatory disease in the early phase. Among vascular involvement, stenosis was the most frequent lesion, being present in 93% of patients, followed by occlusion (57%), dilatation (16%), and aneurysm (7%). Glucocorticoids were the mainstay of treatment in our series; however, treatment with cytotoxic agents was required in about half of the patients. Fifty-two patients underwent at least 1 surgical procedure. The main indications for intervention were renal vascular hypertension, cerebral hypoperfusion, and limb claudication.
Conclusion: As with many rare diseases, delay in diagnosis is an important issue for patients with TA. The increasing occurrence of vascular lesions along with the disease progression put to question the long-term effectiveness of contemporary treatment. These data may be helpful in increasing physicians' awareness to prevent diagnosis delay, update guidelines, and plan future research projects.