Henoch-Schonlein Purpura (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

What are risk factors for HSP?

The only known risk factors for HSP are exposure to certain viruses and drugs. The reaction to these agents that leads to HSP is not, however, predictable.

What are HSP symptoms and signs?

Classically, HSP causes a purple-appearing skin rash, pain in the abdomen, and joint inflammation (arthritis). Not all features need be present for the diagnosis. The rash of skin lesions appears in gravity-dependent areas, such as the legs. The joints most frequently affected with pain and swelling are the ankles and the knees. Patients with HSP can develop fever. Inflammation of the blood vessels in the kidneys (nephritis) can cause blood and/or protein in the urine. Abdominal pain and gastrointestinal bleeding is more common in children than in adults. Serious kidney complications are infrequent but can occur.

Symptoms usually last approximately a month. Recurrences are not frequent but do occur.

How is HSP diagnosed?

HSP is usually diagnosed based on the typical skin, joint, and kidney findings. Throat culture, urinalysis, and blood tests for inflammation and kidney function are used to suggest the diagnosis. A biopsy of the skin, and less commonly kidneys, can be used to demonstrate vasculitis. Special staining techniques (direct immunofluorescence) of the biopsy specimen can be used with microscopic examination to document antibody deposits of IgA in the blood vessels of involved tissue.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/3/2012

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Henoch-Schonlein Purpura - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with henoch-schonlein purpura.
Henoch-Schonlein Purpura - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms of your Henoch-Schonlein purpura?