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Title: Understanding Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA)

Updated: Oct 9, 2023


In this blog post, we explore the world of vasculitis, focusing specifically on granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), formerly known as Wegener. We will discuss the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for this small vessel vasculitis, shedding light on the importance of early medical intervention.

What is Vasculitis?

Vasculitis refers to inflammation of the blood vessels, categorized into three main types: large vessel vasculitis, medium vessel vasculitis, and small vessel vasculitis. Small vessel vasculitis is the most common form seen in rheumatology, and one of its subsets is GPA.

Recognizing the Urgency:

Before delving into GPA, it is crucial to stress the urgency of seeking medical attention for potential rheumatologic disorders. Dr. Amigues shares a heartfelt story of a young individual who tragically lost their life due to delayed consultation with a rheumatologist. Early intervention, including trying steroid treatments, can be life-saving, and patients should never hesitate to reach out for assistance.

Understanding GPA Symptoms:

GPA, a form of small vessel vasculitis, presents in various ways. Patients may experience constitutional symptoms such as fatigue, fevers, and night sweats. Although organ involvement may not be apparent initially, inflammation within small vessels is brewing. Pulmonary and kidney involvement are common in GPA, with symptoms ranging from lung nodules and coughing up blood to changes in urine output and fatigue. Skin inflammation (purpura), joint pain, neuropathy, and eye and sinus issues may also occur.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

Diagnosing GPA requires a comprehensive approach. Clinical examination, symptom analysis, antibody testing (specifically ANCA antibodies), and organ biopsies aid in reaching an accurate diagnosis. Once diagnosed, treatment primarily involves immunosuppression therapy. Steroids are often prescribed initially, with rituximab being a newer alternative that minimizes long-term steroid use. Maintenance therapy is crucial to prevent relapses, especially for patients with PR3 antibodies.


Early diagnosis and treatment are paramount in effectively managing GPA. Prompt medical attention is necessary when experiencing symptoms suggestive of vasculitis. Regular monitoring of lung function and urine analysis aids in detecting potential complications. With proper care and treatment, patients with GPA can lead healthier lives.

You can watch the video related to this blog on our new Youtube Rheumatology channel at

As always, if you are looking for a rheumatologist, Dr. Amigues can see new patients within a few days. Email us at

Are you, or someone you love, looking for a rheumatologist? Are you looking for a highly skilled and trusted physician who can finally help you find what you have whether autoimmune or inflammatory? Or maybe simply for a doctor who will listen to you and work with you to achieve disease remission? We think that UnabridgedMD has the best rheumatologist and rheumatologic practice in Denver, Colorado, and would love to work with you. You can schedule your first appointment at or schedule a free 15-minute discovery call with Dr. Amigues herself, so that we can make sure we are the right fit for you, here: LINK. We cannot wait to welcome you to the UnabridgedMD family!

Image of a skin biopsy from a patint with ANCA vasculitis. The findings are those of Leucocytoclastic Vasculitis which is a small vessel vasculitis characterized by immune complex-mediated vasculitis of the dermal capillaries and venules.

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