Splenic infarction is not rare in granulomatosis with polyangiitis

Clin Rheumatol. 2020 Jun;39(6):1929-1934. doi: 10.1007/s10067-020-04993-w. Epub 2020 Feb 27.


Splenic involvement is rarely reported in patients with ANCA-associated vasculitides (AAVs), particularly in those with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) and is in fact considered to be underestimated. We aimed to investigate the frequency of splenic lesions-mainly infarction-and related factors in patients with AAVs. Patients with AAV whose abdominal or thoracic computed tomographies (CTs) were performed at or after diagnosis were included in the study. CT images were examined for splenic lesions. Overall, 69 patients (median age at diagnosis 54 [IQR 24] years; 55% with GPA, 29% with microscopic polyangiitis, and 16% with renal-limited disease) were included in the analysis. Splenic pathologies were detected in 19 (28%) patients; 12/19 (63%) splenomegaly and 7/19 (37%) splenic infarction. All patients with splenic infarction exhibited GPA with PR3-ANCA-positive serology. Three of these seven patients had autosplenectomy. Patients with splenic infarction were younger at diagnosis (p = 0.018) with also significantly higher ear-nose-throat (ENT) (%100 vs 37; p = 0.002) and eye involvement (%50 vs %12; p = 0.044) than patients without splenic infarction. Splenic pathologies are not rare in AAVs. Furthermore, infarction can help separate GPA from MPA. In young patients with GPA, particularly those with ENT and eye involvements, physicians should consider splenic infarction.Key Points• Splenic infarction is more common than previously thought in ANCA-associated vasculitides, particularly in granulomatosis with polyangiitis.• Detecting splenic infarction can help differentiate granulomatosis with polyangiitis from other subgroups.

Keywords: Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis; Granulomatosis with polyangiitis; Spleen; Splenic infarction.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Neutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibody-Associated Vasculitis / complications*
  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic / immunology
  • Female
  • Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis / complications*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Splenic Infarction / etiology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic