OBJECTIVE: To assess the feasibility and potential diagnostic usefulness of arterial ultrasonography in Takayasu's arteritis. METHODS: The total wall, intimal + medial, and adventitial thickness of the common carotid, subclavian and common femoral arteries, and of the abdominal aorta, were examined by B mode ultrasonography in 16 patients with Takayasu's arteritis and 16 healthy control subjects. RESULTS: The mean total wall and intimal + medial thickness of all arteries other than the common femoral were significantly increased in Takayasu's arteritis. Long segments of homogeneous circumferential wall thickening in multiple vessels were characteristic. When the common carotid and subclavian arteries and the abdominal aorta were examined, each individual with Takayasu's arteritis had at least one artery with total wall thickness exceeding the reference range in controls. CONCLUSIONS: B mode ultrasonography is able to expose the widespread arterial wall thickening characteristic of Takayasu's arteritis and may provide a useful tool for the detection and follow up of this disease.
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