Vasculitis is a term that refers to several different conditions, all of which involve inflammation and/or damage to the blood vessels, ranging from moderate to severe. Some conditions, such as Kawasaki disease, involve inflammation and death of tissue in arteries. Other conditions, such as Henoch-Schönlein purpura, may affect both arteries and veins. Kawasaki disease is the most common form of vasculitis seen in children, and is seen most often in children of Asian origin. Kawasaki disease occurs most often in children younger than four years of age.
The exact cause of vasculitis is not known. However, research indicates that causes may include infectious agents and autoimmune diseases.
Symptoms related to vasculitis may vary, depending on the specific condition involved. There are many forms of vasculitis that require clinical care by a physician or other healthcare professional, these include Wegener's granulomatosis, polyarteritis, and Takayasu arteritis occur rarely in children.