October 17, 2023


Vasculitis means inflammation of a blood vessel. The inflammation damages the wall of the blood vessel which prevents blood from flowing through it normally.

How does vasculitis damage a blood vessel?

Blood vessels are hollow tubes that carry blood throughout the body. The open space in the center is called the lumen and it is surrounded by the vessel wall. The inflammation in vasculitis damages the blood vessel wall, which causes the lumen of the blood vessel to decrease in size. As a result, less blood is able to flow through the blood vessel. This may cause a type of injury called ischemia to the organs or tissues that normally receive blood from that vessel.

What types of blood vessels are affected?

Blood vessels are found throughout the body and they are divided into types depending on their size and whether they are delivering blood to the body, or bringing it back to the heart. Blood leaves the heart through a large blood vessel called the aorta. The aorta connects with arteries and arterioles (small vessels similar to arteries) to deliver blood to the body. Veins and venules (small vessels similar to veins) bring blood back to the heart. Arterioles and venules are connected by small blood vessels called capillaries, which allow oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients, and waste to flow between tissues and blood. Any of these blood vessels may be affected by vasculitis.

About this article:

This article was written by doctors to help you read and understand your pathology report. Contact us if you have questions about this article or your pathology report.

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