Reviewed by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

The diagnosis of vasculitis is based on a person's medical history, physical exam, signs and symptoms, and laboratory tests. Some of the tests used in the diagnosis of vasculitis include: 

  • Blood tests. These may be done to look for abnormal levels of blood cells or antibodies, which could be a sign of inflammation in the body
  • Biopsy. During this test, the doctor takes a small sample of tissue from a blood vessel or one of the affected organs and looks at it under a microscope for inflammation or damage. A biopsy is often the best way to make a firm diagnosis of vasculitis.
  • Echocardiogram. This test uses sound waves to create a moving picture of your heart. Echocardiogram provides information about the size and shape of your heart and how well your heart chambers and valves are functioning. The test also can identify areas of poor blood flow to the heart, areas of heart muscle that are not contracting normally, and previous injury to the heart muscle caused by poor blood flow.
  • Angiography. This test may be done to see the flow of blood through the blood vessels and to determine whether they are blocked. During this test, a dye is injected into the blood vessels, and x-ray pictures of the blood vessels are taken.

A variety of other tests may be used in order to diagnose a more specific case of vasculitis that affects a specific organ or part of the body rather than the body as a whole.

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