Henoch-Schönlein purpura (IgA vasculitis)

What is it?

This is the most common form of infantile vasculitis. The disease usually has a benign course and ends after a few weeks or months, especially in children.

The disease was known as early as 1803, and in 1837 Johann Schönlein distinguished the symptoms of this disease into a separate nosology. And in 1868, Eduard Heinrich Henoch described a case in which a patient combined characteristics of this disease: damage to the gastrointestinal tract, which caused the appearance of blood in the stool, and damage to the joints and skin.

Causes and risk factors

The disease is most common in children aged 4 to 10 years and often occurs after an upper respiratory tract infection. Men and women get ill with the same frequency. In adults, it is less common, but, unlike children, it can have a chronic course.

This is a disease in which there is inflammation of small blood vessels (vasculitis) due to the accumulation of immune complexes in their walls (a complex of specific antibodies with the antigen to which it is directed). As evidenced by a biopsy of the lesion, the antibody involved is of type IgA.

Which are the symptoms?

The disease is characterized by the appearance of purple, towering, non-itchy spots on the skin, which emerge mainly on the extremities and in pressure zones. With arthritis, large joints (ankle and knee) are affected with a temporary and migrating nature of pain.

Often there are complaints of abdominal pain (colic) with complications in the form of nausea, vomiting, symptoms of acute abdominal pain.

Kidney damage may appear when other manifestations have already disappeared. It is characterized by the presence of traces of blood and protein in the urine, and, very rarely, impaired renal function.

How is it diagnosed?

Suggested exams

How is it treated?

In children, the disease ceases independently and does not require special treatment. In adults, kidney damage, if chronic, may require steroid or possibly immunosuppressive therapy.

Where do we treat it?

Within the San Donato Group, you can find Henoch-Schönlein purpura (IgA vasculitis) specialists at these departments:

Are you interested in receiving the treatment?

Contact us and we will take care of you.