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Takayasu arteritis: epidemiological, clinical, and immunogenetic features in Greece

Z.T. Karageorgaki, G.K. Bertsias, C.P. Mavragani, H.D. Kritikos, M. Spyropoulou-Vlachou, A.A. Drosos, D.T. Boumpas, H.M. Moutsopoulos


2009 Vol.27, N°1 ,Suppl.52
PI 0033, PF 0039
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PMID: 19646344 [PubMed]


Takayasu arteritis (TA) is an uncommon disease with clinical heterogeneity across different ethnic groups. We aimed to evaluate the epidemiological, clinical, and immuno-genetic features of TA in Greece.
Demographic, clinical, laboratory, angiographic, and therapeutic data of 42 patients from 4 large referral centers were retrieved. Serology and Human Lymphocyte Antigen (HLA) typing was performed in 22 patients.
We studied 37 women and 5 men with a median age of 31 years at disease onset. Median delay in diagnosis was 24 months and median follow-up was 47 months (range 0-178). Constitutional or musculoskeletal symptoms were present in 86%, especially early in the disease course. Vascular findings were universal with reduced or absent pulse being the most common manifestation (98%). Hypertension was frequent (78%). Extensive disease prevailed and stenotic lesions were more common than aneurysms (95% vs. 40%). Erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein showed modest correlation with disease activity. HLA-B52 was expressed by 37% of the patients vs. 2.4% of the controls (p<0.001). Glucocorticoids and cytotoxic agents were used in most patients with remission rates of 83%. A total of 42 surgical procedures were performed with success rates of 87%.
TA in Greece clinically and epidemiologically resembles the pattern of disease in Japan and the Western hemisphere. There is considerable delay in diagnosis, which may partially reflect failure to recognize a rare disease. New surrogate markers are needed to assess disease activity. Glucocorticoids are the cornerstone of treatment and cytotoxic drugs are frequently used as steroid sparing agents.

Rheumatology Article