About Central Nervous System Vasculitis
Central nervous system (CNS) vasculitis is a form of vasculitis (inflammatory vessel disease) which disrupts blood flow to the brain and spinal cord, which make up the central nervous system. Since the brain and spinal cord require a lot of blood supply to function, this can have serious complications such as stroke or impaired brain function.
Types of central nervous system vasculitis:
CNS vasculitis is categorized based on the presence of other autoimmune conditions
Types of central nervous system vasculitis include:
- Primary angiitis of the CNS (PACNS): Inflammation of the blood vessels of the brain and spinal cord without other autoimmune or inflammatory conditions present.
- Secondary CNS vasculitis: Inflammation of blood vessels of the brain and spinal cord along with other autoimmune diseases including systemic vasculitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms of Central Nervous System Vasculitis
As the name suggests, symptoms of CNS vasculitis are concentrated in the brain and spinal cord.
Symptoms of central nervous system vasculitis may include:
- Brain swelling
- Difficulty with coordination
- Difficulty with memory
- Muscle weakness
- Sensory difficulty
Risk Factors for Central Nervous System Vasculitis
The two types of CNS vasculitis have different risk factors.
Risk factors for central nervous system vasculitis may include:
- Age: Primary angiitis of the CNS (PACNS) is more common in those over 50.
- Comorbid conditions: Secondary CNS vasculitis is associated with additional forms of vasculitis and other autoimmune conditions.
- Sex: The condition is more common in male patients.
Treating Central Nervous System Vasculitis at UT Health Austin
Like all forms of vasculitis, corticosteroids like prednisone can be used to address the inflammation associated with central nervous system vasculitis.
Care Team Approach
At UT Health Austin, we take a multidisciplinary approach to your care. This means you will benefit from the expertise of multiple specialists across a variety of disciplines caring for you in one place. The Vasculitis Clinic care team includes rheumatologists, nurses, and medical assistants who work together to help you get back to the things in your life that matter most to you.
We collaborate with our colleagues at the Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin to utilize the latest research, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, allowing us to develop the best treatment plan for you. Advanced imaging and lab testing are also available on-site if needed, including computed tomography angiography (CTA) and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA).