Pulmonary arteries involvement in Takayasu's arteritis: two cases and literature review

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2011 Dec;41(3):461-70. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2011.06.001. Epub 2011 Jul 30.


Objectives: To review pulmonary arteritis (PA) complicated by pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in Takayasu's arteritis (TA).

Methods: Two cases of PA and PAH in TA patients and similar cases published in the Medline database from 1975 to 2009 were reviewed.

Results: Forty-six cases (females 89.1%, Asians 65%, mean age 34.6 years) were analyzed, 42.2% of which had PAH. Isolated PA was reported in 31.8%. Respiratory symptoms were presented as dyspnea (75.5%), chest pain (48.9%), hemoptysis (42.2%), and cough (17.7%). Hypertension, vascular bruits, and diminished/absent pulses were reported in 48.9% of patients. A diagnosis of PA was based on abnormal uptake on pulmonary perfusion scan and a finding of stenosis, narrowing, occlusion, and irregularity on computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, and/or pulmonary angiography. Patients were treated with glucocorticoids (77.5%), disease-modified antirheumatic drugs (35%), and warfarin (20%); only a few were treated with biological agents. Vascular procedures were performed in 52.5% of cases, on pulmonary arteries in 37.5% with good results. The outcome was death in 20.5% of PA patient and 33.3% in PAH patients.

Conclusions: TA may be complicated by life-threatening PA and PAH. Clinical signs are not specific and may be masked by involvement of the aorta and its branches. Treatment with glucocorticoids and disease-modified antirheumatic drugs has only partial effect, which may be intensified by biological agents. Invasive procedures on pulmonary arteries may be a complementary option. PA and PAH in TA patients should be recognized early and treated promptly for prevention of irreversible vascular damage.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Familial Primary Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / complications*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / diagnostic imaging
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Artery / physiopathology*
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Takayasu Arteritis / complications*
  • Takayasu Arteritis / diagnostic imaging
  • Takayasu Arteritis / physiopathology