The American College of Rheumatology 1990 criteria for the classification of Wegener's granulomatosis

Arthritis Rheum. 1990 Aug;33(8):1101-7. doi: 10.1002/art.1780330807.


Criteria for the classification of Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) were developed by comparing 85 patients who had this disease with 722 control patients with other forms of vasculitis. For the traditional format classification, 4 criteria were selected: abnormal urinary sediment (red cell casts or greater than 5 red blood cells per high power field), abnormal findings on chest radiograph (nodules, cavities, or fixed infiltrates), oral ulcers or nasal discharge, and granulomatous inflammation on biopsy. The presence of 2 or more of these 4 criteria was associated with a sensitivity of 88.2% and a specificity of 92.0%. A classification tree was also constructed with 5 criteria being selected. These criteria were the same as for the traditional format, but included hemoptysis. The classification tree was associated with a sensitivity of 87.1% and a specificity of 93.6%. We describe criteria which distinguish patients with WG from patients with other forms of vasculitis with a high level of sensitivity and specificity. This distinction is important because WG requires cyclophosphamide therapy, whereas many other forms of vasculitis can be treated with corticosteroids alone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis / classification*
  • Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis / diagnosis
  • Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Rheumatology* / methods
  • Rheumatology* / trends
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Societies, Medical*
  • Vasculitis / diagnosis