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Pulseless Disease (Takayasu's Arteritis): Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Pulseless disease, also known as Takayasu's arteritis, is a rare, chronic, autoimmune condition that causes inflammation of the aorta, the largest artery in the body, and its main branches. This results in narrowing or blockage of these blood vessels, leading to reduced blood flow and oxygen supply to the organs and tissues supplied by these vessels. The disease mostly affects young women in their twenties and thirties, and it can lead to serious complications if left untreated.


The exact cause of pulseless disease is unknown, but it is believed to be an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissues. Genetic factors may also play a role in its development. In some cases, the disease may be triggered by an infection, such as tuberculosis or hepatitis B.


The symptoms of pulseless disease vary depending on which blood vessels are affected and how severe the inflammation is. Early stages of the disease may be asymptomatic or present with non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, fever, night sweats, weight loss, and malaise. As the disease progresses, the symptoms may include:

  1. Absent or weak pulses in the arms or legs
  2. Pain or discomfort in the chest, back, arms, or legs
  3. Dizziness, fainting, or lightheadedness
  4. High blood pressure
  5. Vision changes or blindness
  6. Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  7. Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  8. Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)


Diagnosis of pulseless disease requires a thorough medical history and physical examination, as well as various imaging tests and laboratory tests. Imaging tests may include ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) angiography, and positron emission tomography (PET) scan. Laboratory tests may include complete blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), and antinuclear antibody (ANA) test.


Treatment of pulseless disease aims to reduce inflammation, prevent complications, and improve blood flow to the affected organs and tissues. This may involve a combination of medications and surgical interventions. Medications may include corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and biologic agents. Surgical interventions may include angioplasty, stent placement, or bypass surgery to improve blood flow.


The prognosis for pulseless disease varies depending on the severity of the disease and how early it is diagnosed and treated. Without treatment, the disease can lead to serious complications such as heart failure, stroke, and organ damage. However, with early diagnosis and treatment, many people with pulseless disease can lead normal, healthy lives.

Pulseless disease, also known as Takayasu's arteritis, is a rare, chronic autoimmune condition that affects the aorta and its main branches. It can lead to serious complications if left untreated, but with early diagnosis and treatment, many people can lead normal, healthy lives. If you experience any of the symptoms associated with pulseless disease, seek medical attention promptly to prevent further complications.