Inflammation of blood vessels. Vasculitis often leads to damage to the lining of blood vessels, with blockage or narrowing that stops or restricts blood flow. As a result, the body tissues supplied by affected vessels are impaired, or they are destroyed by ischaemia.
Vasculitis is thought to be caused in many cases by the presence of minute bodies, called immune complexes, in the blood. Immune complexes are usually destroyed by white blood cells, but occasionally adheres to the walls of blood vessels, where they cause inflammation. In certain cases, the antigens are viruses.
Vasculitis is a disease process that occurs in various disorders, such as polyarthritis nodosa, serum sickness, temporal arthritis, Buergers disease, erythema nodosum, and Henoch-Schnlein purpura.