Henoch Schonlein Purpura HSP

Henoch Schonlein Purpura Hsp - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is Henoch-Sch?nlein purpura (HSP)?

Henoch-Sch?nlein purpura (HSP) is a form of vasculitis, a condition which involves inflammation of the blood vessels. It is one of the most common forms of vasculitis in childhood. HSP is seen most frequently in children between the ages of two and 11 years, and occurs more frequently in boys. A family connection has been noted with HSP, where the disease has happened to two or more siblings of the same family, either at the same time, or one after another.

What causes Henoch-Sch?nlein purpura?

As with the other forms of vasculitis, the cause of HSP is not known. HSP may be associated with an upper respiratory tract infection or possibly an allergic reaction. Most children with HSP recover completely.

What are the symptoms of Henoch-Sch?nlein purpura?

The following are the most common symptoms of Henoch-Sch?nlein purpura. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Purpura--hemorrhage (bleeding) into the skin, mucous membranes, internal organs, and other tissues

  • Arthralgia--pain in the joints

  • Inflammation of the joints

  • Abdominal pain

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding--bleeding in the gastrointestinal, or GI, tract, which includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines

  • Nephritis--inflammation of the kidneys

  • Subcutaneous edema--swelling just below the skin

  • Encephalopathy--dysfunction of the brain

  • Orchitis--inflammation of the testicle(s)

The symptoms of Henoch-Sch?nlein purpura may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

How is Henoch-Sch?nlein purpura diagnosed?

Henoch-Sch?nlein purpura is usually diagnosed based on a typical clinical presentation. These criteria include:

  • Arthritis

  • Palpable purpura--hemorrhage (bleeding) into the skin or mucous membranes and other tissues

  • Abdominal pain

  • Kidney disease

If the presentation is not typical, a biopsy of the involved area may be required. In addition, ultrasound (a diagnostic imaging technique which uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs) may be used to examine the gastrointestinal tract for presence of the disease.

Treatment for Henoch-Sch?nlein purpura

Specific treatment for Henoch-Sch?nlein purpura will be determined by your child's physician based on:

  • Your child's overall health and medical history

  • Extent of the condition

  • Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, and therapies

  • Expectation for the course of the disease

  • Specific organs that are affected

  • Your opinion or preference

Treatments for HSP may include:

  • Adequate hydration, or fluid intake

  • Careful attention to nutrition

  • Pain control with medications such as acetaminophen

  • Glucocorticoids (to control inflammation)