What is Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis?
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), formerly called Wegener's granulomatosis, is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation, swelling, and irritation in blood vessels and other tissues.
This inflammation reduces or stops the flow of blood to organs in the body. The condition mostly affects the respiratory system, including the sinuses, nose, windpipe, and lungs. It can also affect the kidneys and other organs in the body.
Ongoing GPA can have serious complications.
Symptoms of GPA
Most people with GPA first have vague symptoms that may include:
- Tiredness or exhaustion
- Joint pain
- Upper respiratory symptoms that don’t respond to treatments for allergies or colds.
- Eye infections, redness, burning, or pain
- Skin sores or ulcers
- Night sweats
To diagnose GPA, medical professionals will first take a detailed medical history and carry out a physical examination. They will then order various diagnostic tests, such as blood work, urine studies, and imaging tests. In some cases, a kidney biopsy may be warranted. While these tests can help to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms, a biopsy—which involves examining a tissue sample—is the only way to definitely diagnose GPA.
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UR Medicine's Treatments for Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis
Common medicines used in treatment include:
- Corticosteroids. This helps reduce inflammation.
- Rituximab. This is an antibody against certain immune cells (B-cells) that can the autoimmune problem in GPA.
- Cyclophosphamide. This is an immunosuppressive medication.
GPA may come back even after successful treatment. Continue to follow up with your healthcare provider, even when you are in remission.
What Sets Us Apart?
U.S. News & World Reports has identified us as one of the top adult nephrology (kidney) care centers in the country.
Our collaborative approach brings a wide range of expertise and diverse perspectives to patient care, with specialists in cardiology, endocrinology, rheumatology, transplant surgery, and urology working together to develop the best treatments for each patient.
Because we’re an academic medical center, our physicians also lead important research studies, with significant grants from the National Institutes of Health and industry-sponsored clinical trials.
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