Your healthcare provider may be able to diagnose the type of vasculitis that you have and how serious it is. Depending on your symptoms, your provider may recommend you see a specialist for more tests or procedures.
Which specialists can diagnose vasculitis?
- Cardiologists specialize in the heart.
- Dermatologists specialize in skin.
- Infectious disease specialists are experts in diagnosis and treatment of infections.
- Nephrologists specialize in the kidneys.
- Neurologists specialize in the brain and nervous system.
- Ophthalmologists specialize in eyes.
- Pulmonologists specialize in the lungs.
- Rheumatologists specialize in joints, muscles, and autoimmune diseases.
- Urologists specialize in the urinary tract and urogenital system.
Diagnostic tests and procedures
Diagnosis of vasculitis can be difficult. Some types of vasculitis cannot be diagnosed with a test. Instead, your provider will diagnose you based on your symptoms or order tests or procedures.
- A collects a small sample of your tissue from a specific blood vessel or an organ. A pathologist, someone with special training in laboratory results, will study the sample for specific signs of swelling and tissue damage.
- Blood tests detect levels of certain blood cells and in your blood.
- A chest X-ray finds out whether vasculitis is affecting your lungs or your large arteries, such as the aorta or the arteries in the lungs.
- Computed tomography (CT) scan looks for signs of granulomatosis with polyangiitis.
- Echocardiography is an ultrasound test to learn how well the heart is working.
- A pathergy test diagnoses Behçet’s disease. In this test, a needle pricks the skin, and sometimes a small amount of saline solution may be injected. The test is positive if a red bump or ulcer develops after 2 days.
- Coronary angiography looks at your blood vessels for damage, inflammation, blockages, or aneurysms.
- Positron electron tomography (PET) scan, a type of nuclear scan, detects inflammation in the blood vessels.
- Ultrasound looks for signs of inflammation in your blood vessels or organs.
- Urinalysis checks for kidney damage.