Richard Becker, MD, professor of medicine and director of the UC Heart, Lung and Vascular Institute, spoke with Infectious Disease Advisor about vasculitis, also known as inflammation of the blood vessels, and the novel vasculitis mimics related to COVID-19.
“Vascular inflammation and accompanying endothelial cell dysfunction are common themes in COVID-19 and can involve small, medium, and large caliber arteries,” Becker, a UC Health cardiologist told Infectious Disease Advisor. “The density of inflamed blood vessels is greatest within the lungs but can involve any organ system including the heart, central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, gastrointestinal and hepato-biliary systems, kidneys, and skin.”
Researchers have observed cutaneous vasculitis, often affecting the dorsal surfaces of the toes, in children and younger, otherwise healthy, patients with COVID-19. These skin lesions with features of vasculitis have typically been found in the absence of COVID-19 pneumonia and generally have a good prognosis. However, in older patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia, cutaneous manifestations are markedly different and may be associated with a poorer prognosis.
Featured image of Richard Becker, MD, taken by Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand.