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Takayasu arteritis in Thailand: clinical and imaging features.

PURPOSE: To present and evaluate the clinical and imaging features of patients with Takyasu arteritis in Thailand.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Clinical and angiographic findings were studied in 63 patients with Takayasu arteritis collected at Chulalongkorn Hospital Medical School, Bangkok. Imaging features including CT scan in 15 patients, magnetic resonance imaging in 14 patients and magnetic resonance angiography in ten patients were evaluated and compared to angiography.

RESULTS: Among 63 patients there were 43 females and 20 males with the ratio female to male 2.15:1. The most common age groups were in the third and fourth decades of life. The most common clinical findings were hypertension and absence or weakness of pulses. Elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate was found in 50%. For angiography, the most common vessel affected was the abdominal aorta (20%). The second and third most common sites were renal arteries (18.7%) and the subclavian arteries (14.3%). Coronary artery involvement was found in two out of eight patients. No pulmonary involvement was found in eight cases studied by pulmonary angiography. For classification of angiogram, the most common type of involvement (66.7%) was extensive involvement of the aorta and branches (type V of new classification established from International Conferences on Takayasu arteritis in Tokyo 1994). No patient was found to have only involvement of brachiocephalic branches or ascending aorta and brachiocephalic branches. CT scan showed calcification in the vessel walls (8/15 cases) which helped in diagnosis of the disease. Wall thickness, surrounding tissue, appearance of the vessel and intraluminal thrombus could be well seen. Magnetic resonance imaging added more detail in multiple planes and could demonstrate vascular flow. High detection rate of the lesions (94.8%) was found for the aorta. The study was less sensitive for smaller vessels. Magnetic resonance angiography showed better correlation of the findings of brachiocephalic arteries compared to angiography. Subclavian steal syndrome could be diagnosed. For renal arteries, MR angiography could correctly demonstrate occlusion of renal artery in six out of eight cases. In the other two cases only stenoses of the vessels were found on angiograms. One renal arterial stenosis on MR angiography was confirmed by angiography.

CONCLUSION: Takayasu arteritis could be found in Thailand. Clinical features were almost the same as in reports from other countries. Various forms of arterial involvement were demonstrated by imaging modalities. Angiography remained the best method for detection and diagnosis of Takayasu arteritis in correlation with clinical and laboratory findings. Although CT scan, magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance angiography were limited and less sensitive for detection of the lesions, they were useful as noninvasive modalities showing more details of intraluminal clot, vascular wall and surrounding tissue which could be correlated with pathological findings and pathogenesis of the disease. Our study suggests that MR imaging and MR angiography can be screening and diagnostic techniques for patients with suspected Takayasu arteritis.

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