Are Angiograms useful in diagnosing Vasculitis?

Hello, I have heard mixed things about whether an angiogram is useful in diagnosing vasculitis. I was wondering how many of you received one while trying to be diagnosed, and whether it helped in your diagnosis. My GP will not order me one, but i see him today and am hoping he will change his mind. It is one of the few imaging tests I have not received. Thank you in advance.

6 Replies

  • Matt, there are all different types of angiograms ( CT, MRI, CT/PET and the conventional one where they inject a dye into the blood vessels).

    The problem is there are 18 different Vasculitis variants, which affect different sizes of blood vessels ( small, medium and large ) and present with slightly different symptoms. Angiograms are useful for some variants but not for others. You also need to know what area of the body to scan ( chest, abdomen etc ). It's not a test that a GP should be ordering because the results have to be viewed in the context of symptoms, blood results etc. They also can expose you to a lot of radiation.

    I know you are seeing a specialist soon, it's difficult but you will need to wait till they give you their expert opinion and order appropriate tests. I know you are particularly concerned about your GI symptoms, Vasculitis affecting the bowel usually leads to a disruption in the blood supply to it, as you have a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis it is much more likely that is causing your GI symptoms.

  • Ok I am on my way to see a vasculitis specialist right now so fingers crossed I can get some answers soon. Yes I am very worried about my GI symptoms, and most recently the new symptoms that have occurred in my limbs and head.

    One more quick question for you if you don't mint me asking. I understand the GI tract is very important for your overall health, but why is it considered one of the more serious areas for vasculitis to occur at? From what I have read online, vasculitis of the GI is rare but usually life threatening. Thank you for your time l.

  • Any type of Vasculitis has the potential to be life threatening if it interferes with the blood supply to a major organ. I would be very wary of what you read online as it may not actually be true. Only trust peer reviewed articles.

    The most feared consequence of Vasculitis affecting the GI tract is if it totally cuts off all the blood supply to the bowel leaving it completely Ischaemic. Bowel ischaemia usually presents in the first instance as abdominal angina, your symtoms seem more reminiscent of Ulcerative Colitis/ inflamatory bowel disease rather than a problem with the main blood supply to the bowel.

    Good luck with your appt today, I hope it meets all your expectations.

  • It was certainly useful for me, in that they could see blockages in the blood vessels to my legs, and it really was one of the confirming tests in my diagnosis, however, the post from Keyes tells you what you need to know, and I can confirm that it was my rheumatology consultant who ordered the angiogram for me.

  • Thank you Janet. I'm hoping I can at least get one so I can add some more pieces to my puzzle. Hope you are doing okay now.

  • Good post.As I feel this might be what's next for me.I have had 2 tias high blood pressure for over 25 years and have on going numbness in feet and occasionally pins and needles in hands,my last episode I lost vision in my right eye,and have had numerous test mra scan showed inflammation but apart from that all other tests been normal.My neurologist says his 95 % happy with me.Recent renal ultrasound all normal even thou I'm treated with blood pressure and been on meds for 20 years.Really scared of being or doing things due to sudden tias and find myself not always doing things with health fears.Just wish I had a answer,that would put me at ease.It was 3 years ago 1st tia and last one was last October.Sorry to of load,but I'm thinking cerebal angiogram may have the answers to my problems.Best health wishes to you.

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