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19-06-2017 | Rheumatoid arthritis | Review | Article

Rheumatoid Vasculitis: A Diminishing Yet Devastating Menace

Current Rheumatology Reports

Authors: Shweta Kishore, Lisa Maher, Vikas Majithia

Publisher: Springer US


Purpose of Review

Rheumatoid vasculitis (RV) is an unusual complication of long-standing rheumatoid arthritis, which is characterized by the development of necrotizing or leukocytoclastic vasculitis involving small or medium-sized vessels. In this review, we aim to provide an update on the epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical presentation, and management of this challenging extra-articular manifestation.

Recent Findings

RV is heterogenous in its clinical presentation depending on the organ and size of blood vessels involved. The most common organs involved are the skin and peripheral nerve. Based on recent population studies, the incidence has significantly decreased with early recognition and the advent of immunosuppressive drugs and biologics; however, the mortality rates remain high.


RV remains a serious extra-articular manifestation of RA that needs to be promptly recognized and treated. No consensus is available on treatment, given the ongoing debate of whether the biologics can trigger or treat RV.

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