The pulmonary vasculitides include a wide spectrum of disorders that have in common inflammation and destruction of pulmonary blood vessels. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), formerly known as Wegener granulomatosis, is the most common of the antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody–associated small-vessel vasculitides, and affects a number of organ systems. GPA affects a wide age range, although it typically presents in middle adulthood. The classic triad of GPA—upper airway involvement (sinusitis, otitis media, mucosal ulcerations, airway inflammation), lower respiratory tract disease, and glomerulonephritis—is not always evident at presentation. Furthermore, limited forms of GPA occur, in which the expected upper airway and renal involvement may be lacking. The imaging manifestations of GPA commonly include multiple, bilateral nodules or masses, frequently with cavitation or necrosis. Diffuse lung opacity due to alveolar hemorrhage, or tracheobronchial inflammation that may result in stenosis, may be encountered. Systemic GPA may be diagnosed when cytoplasmic antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody/anti-proteinase 3 antibodies are detected in the proper clinical context, but, often, the diagnosis of GPA relies on recognition of a combination of common clinical, laboratory, and imaging findings with typical histopathologic changes noted from a biopsy of the affected tissue. A combination of a corticosteroid and immunomodulatory agents is used to induce and maintain remission in patients with GPA. Although potentially fatal if untreated, immunosuppressive therapy has dramatically improved survivorship in patients with GPA.
Department of Radiology, Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, AZ
Disclosure: The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Address correspondence to: Michael B. Gotway, MD, Department of Radiology, Mayo Clinic, 5777 East Mayo Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85054. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.