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Churg-Strauss Syndrome (a.k.a. Allergic Granulomatosis) Print E-mail
by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, CA

Dr. Kennedy Churg-Strauss syndrome, also known as allergic granulomatosis and allergic granulomatous angiitis, is an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune disorders are caused when the body's immune system, which is meant to defend the body against bacteria, viruses, and any other foreign product, malfunctions and produces antibodies against healthy tissue, cells and organs. Churg-Strauss syndrome is characterized by inflamed blood vessels. It produces its own peculiar antibodies and white cells show up in clusters under the microscope. An allergic reaction or asthma may precede the syndrome's development by several years.Although Churg-Strauss syndrome patients may have a prior history of lung disease, the syndrome tends to impair kidneys and/or other organs and/or to cause nerve damage in affected areas. Early symptoms mimic common flu. Also, lung infiltrations, fever, and weight loss are often the first signs.

Tests and Diagnosis

There are no specific tests to confirm Churg-Strauss syndrome, Signs and symptoms are similar to those of other diseases, so it can be difficult to diagnose. The American College of Rheumatology has established criteria for identifying Churg-Strauss syndrome. There are six criteria.

The Six Criteria

The disease is considered to be present if a person has four of the six criteria, but some doctors diagnose Churg-Strauss if you meet only two or three of the criteria, which include:

  • Asthma
  • Eosinophilia — eosinophils normally make up 1 to 3 percent of white blood cells; a count higher than 10 percent is considered abnormally high and a strong indicator of Churg-Strauss syndrome
  • Mononeuropathy or polyneuropathy — damage to one or more nerve groups
  • Pulmonary infiltrates — spots or lesions on a chest X-ray that move from one place to another or come and go
  • History of acute or chronic sinus pain
  • Extravascular eosinophils — white cells that are present outside your blood vessels

Several tests are helpful, although not conclusive. In the end Churg-Strauss is a clinical diagnosis. Here are the tests::

Blood Tests

  • antinuclear antibody (ANA)
  • eosinophil count

Imaging Tests

  • x-rays of the lung
  • computerized tomography (CT) scans
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Also, lung biopsy is sometimes employed to help make the diagnosis.

Treatment

Conventional treatment involves the use of Prednisone and other corticosteroids. Often patients are unable to tolerate the side effects of these drugs and it surely does not address the root cause. Intravenous lipoic acid is a newer, and alternative method, which has yielded good results.



The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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