Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) is a predominantly small-vessel vasculitis associated with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCAs). There are few reports describing its clinical features and outcome in children. We report on the experience at a single tertiary referral center over 21 years.
We conducted a retrospective chart review of all patients diagnosed with WG at The Hospital for Sick Children between 1984 and 2005.
Twenty-five patients were identified. Median age at diagnosis and median followup were 14.5 years and 32.7 months, respectively. Male-to-female ratio was 1:4. Median duration of symptoms before diagnosis was 2 months. Of 22 patients, 21 were ANCA positive during their disease course (classic ANCA 78.9%). Constitutional symptoms were the most common clinical feature at presentation (24 of 25). Glomerulonephritis was present in 22 patients at presentation. Only 1 of 11 patients who presented with or developed renal impairment had normalization of serum creatinine. Upper airway involvement occurred in 21 patients at presentation and 24 over followup; only 1 had subglottic stenosis. Twenty patients had initial pulmonary involvement, most commonly nodules (44%) and pulmonary hemorrhage (44%). Five patients required ventilation for pulmonary hemorrhage. Four patients (16%) had venous thrombotic events (VTEs). Treatment included prednisone (100%), cyclophosphamide (76%), azathioprine (40%), and methotrexate (32%).
Pediatric WG typically presents in adolescence and has a female predominance. Glomerulonephritis and pulmonary disease are common at diagnosis and frequently present as a pulmonary-renal syndrome. Loss of renal function is common and rarely completely reversible. As in adults, children with WG are at risk of VTEs.