Takayasu's Disease: Diagnostic and Therapeutic Value of Subclavian Artery Biopsy

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      Seventeen surgical biopsy specimens of the axillary or subclavian artery were obtained from patients who had inflammatory, nonatherosclerotic arterial lesions and were studied retrospectively. Initial roentgenologic clinical, and histologic findings were evaluated and compared with final diagnosis. Histological examination suggested Takayasu's disease in 11 patients whereas the roentgenologic and clinical signs led us to suspect Takayasu's disease in only eight instances. Takayasu's disease was confirmed in these eight cases later in the course of the disease. In six patients subclavian artery biopsy specimens showed lesions consistent with Horton's disease in contrast to roentgenologic and clinical signs which suggested Takayasu's disease. In five patients, the final diagnosis was Horton's disease and in one, the diagnosis remained unknown. Of 13 patients who had revascularization procedures, bypasses remained patent in patients followed from nine months to 16 years (mean: 68 months). Histopathologic criteria are more reliable than roentgenologic or clinical signs in the diagnosis of Takayasu's disease. The subclavian artery is frequently involved in Takayasu's disease and is a desirable site for retrieval of diagnostic specimen when a revascularization procedure is entertained.

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