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Overview of the Vasculitides.

The systemic vasculitides are heterogeneous clinicopathologic disorders that share the common feature of vascular inflammation. The resulting disorder can vary depending on involvement of specific organs, caliber of blood vessels, the underlying inflammatory process, and individual host factors. The cumulative result is diminished blood flow, vascular alterations, and eventual occlusion with variable ischemia, necrosis, and tissue damage. An international revised nomenclature system provides the necessary nosology and findings relevant to classify each of the vasculitides. This article is an introduction and overview of the clinical presentation, differential diagnosis, laboratory evaluation, and treatment of systemic and nervous system vasculitides.

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