Urticarial vasculitis in northern Spain: clinical study of 21 cases
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AuthorLoricera, Javier; Calvo Río, Vanesa; Mata Arnaiz, María Cristina; Ortiz Sanjuán, Francisco Miguel; González López, Marcos Antonio; Álvarez Granda, Jesús Lino; González Vela, María del Carmen; Armesto Alonso, Susana; Fernández Llaca, José Héctor; Rueda Gotor, Javier; González-Gay Mantecón, Miguel Ángel; Blanco Alonso, Ricardo
Urticarial vasculitis (UV) is a subset of cutaneous vasculitis (CV), characterized clinically by urticarial skin lesions of more than 24 hours' duration and histologically by leukocytoclastic vasculitis. We assessed the frequency, clinical features, treatment, and outcome of a series of patients with UV. We conducted a retrospective study of patients with UV included in a large series of unselected patients with CV from a university hospital. Of 766 patients with CV, UV was diagnosed in 21 (2.7%; 9 male and 12 female patients; median age, 35 yr; range, 1-78 yr; interquartile range, 5-54 yr). Eight of the 21 cases were aged younger than 20 years old. Potential precipitating factors were upper respiratory tract infections and drugs (penicillin) (n = 4; in all cases in patients aged <20 yr), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection (n = 1), and malignancy (n = 1). Besides urticarial lesions, other features such as palpable purpura (n = 7), arthralgia and/or arthritis (n = 13), abdominal pain (n = 2), nephropathy (n = 2), and peripheral neuropathy (n = 1) were observed. Hypocomplementemia (low C4) with low C1q was disclosed in 2 patients. Other abnormal laboratory findings were leukocytosis (n = 7), increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate (n = 6), anemia (n = 4), and antinuclear antibody positivity (n = 2). Treatment included corticosteroids (n = 12), antihistaminic drugs (n = 6), chloroquine (n = 4), nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (n = 3), colchicine (n = 2), and azathioprine (n = 1). After a median follow-up of 10 months (interquartile range, 2-38 mo) recurrences were observed in 4 patients. Apart from 1 patient who died because of an underlying malignancy, the outcome was good with full recovery in the remaining patients. In conclusion, our results indicate that UV is rare but not exceptional. In children UV is often preceded by an upper respiratory tract infection. Urticarial lesions and joint manifestations are the most frequent clinical manifestation. Low complement serum levels are observed in a minority of cases. The prognosis is generally good, but depends on the underlying disease.