The Incidence of Large Vessel Vasculitis in Norfolk, UK

It’s always crucial to have a robust understanding of the incidence of health conditions in our communities. Only with this data can we adequately address the needs of affected individuals and strategise our healthcare response. One such condition that has been under-researched is large vessel vasculitis. Thankfully, a new study from Norfolk, UK, is shedding light on the situation.

What is Large Vessel Vasculitis?

Large vessel vasculitis is a condition involving inflammation of the body’s large blood vessels, particularly the arteries. The two main types of this condition are giant cell arteritis (GCA) and Takayasu arteritis. Until recently, UK data on the incidence of these diseases was based on routine administrative datasets, without clinically verified diagnoses.

A New Study on Large Vessel Vasculitis

A recent study, conducted by Mukhtyar et al. (2022), aimed to investigate the incidence of large vessel vasculitis in Norfolk, a region with a stable population and a predominant Northern European ancestry. The researchers focused on individuals attending a secondary care hospital with a clinically verified diagnosis of primary systemic vasculitis made between 2011-2020.

Key Findings

The researchers identified 272 individuals diagnosed with a large vessel vasculitis in a population of 454,316 aged 18 and above. This data gives an annual incidence of large vessel vasculitis in Norfolk of 59.9/million in the population above the age of 18.

For giant cell arteritis, the annual incidence is 9.9/100,000 in the population above the age of 50 using the ACR 1990 criteria, and 10.6/100,000 using the ACR/EULAR 2022 criteria.

The incidence of Takayasu arteritis is 3.3/million in the population above the age of 18 using the ACR 1990 criteria and 1.1/million using the ACR/EULAR 2022 criteria.

The study noted an increase in the incidence from 2017 onwards, which correlated with the establishment of a fast-track pathway for diagnosis. A dip in 2020 was also recorded, likely due to the suspension of services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Implications

These findings provide much-needed data on the incidence of large vessel vasculitis in the UK, especially GCA and Takayasu arteritis. The data will help healthcare providers plan for service provision and create strategies for managing the disease. It also underscores the importance of rapid diagnostic pathways, as seen with the rise in diagnoses following the implementation of the fast-track pathway in 2017.

Reference: Mukhtyar, C., Beadsmoore, C., Coath, F., Ducker, G., Sisson, K., & Watts, R. (2022). The incidence of large vessel vasculitis in Norfolk, UK. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 81(Suppl 1), 829-830. DOI: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2022-eular.803

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