Patient Frequently Asked Questions

1. What types of diseases do you treat at the Boston University Vasculitis Center?

Our clinical expertise and research are focused exclusively on vasculitis.  If you have been recently diagnosed with vasculitis, or believe you may have vasculitis, please contact our center to be seen.  We will work with you and your doctors to have you seen as quickly as possible by our team of experts.

Types of Vasculitis

  1. Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (Wegener’s)
  2. Churg-Strauss Syndrome
  3. Microscopic Polyangiitis
  4. Behçet’s Disease
  5. Buerger’s Disease
  6. Central Nervous System Vasculitis
  7. Cryoglobulinemic Vasculitis
  8. Henoch-Schönlein Purpura
  9. Polyarteritis Nodosa
  10. Giant Cell (Temporal) Arteritis
  11. Polymyalgia Rheumatica
  12. Takayasu’s Arteritis
  13. Vasculitis associated with connective tissue disease
  14. Drug-Induced Vasculitis
  15. Cutaneous Vasculitis

2. What will happen at the first visit?

We ask all patients to send their medical records to us prior to the initial visit, so we can review your medical information ahead of time.  This allows us to spend the maximum amount of face-to-face time with you on the day of the visit.

You will either be seen by one of our doctors or by both a doctor and a nurse practitioner with expertise in vasculitis.  The first visit is usually quite comprehensive, as we review all symptoms, past medical history, laboratory data, imaging studies, etc.  Once a diagnosis is established, we will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan.

3.  How do I schedule an appointment at the Boston University Vasculitis Center?

Please contact our office manager, Ms. Jackie Chapski, at 617-414-2500.  She will arrange for you to be seen as quickly as possible.

4. What if I already have a rheumatologist or other doctor who cares for my vasculitis?

We are happy to work closely with all of your other doctors to ensure you are receiving the best medical care possible.

We participate in patient care in three ways:

  1. One Time Consultation:  For patients whose diagnosis is unclear, we offer our expertise in helping to determine whether you have vasculitis.  We frequently see patients for second opinions regarding their diagnosis or treatment plan.  Once a diagnosis of vasculitis is established, we share our knowledge and experience in the treatment of vasculitis to help you and your other doctors to develop a plan.
  2. Annual or Bi-annual Visits: Often patients travel long distances to be seen, and coming to Boston on a regular basis is inconvenient.  We are happy to see patients once a year, every six months, or on whatever schedule works best for them.  We work in conjunction with the patient’s local doctors, and are always available by phone or email.
  3. Frequent Follow-up Visits:  All patients have the option to continue to receive care at the Boston University Vasculitis Center for the duration of their disease.  We typically see patients in follow-up approximately every 3 to 4 months, but more frequently if needed.  We strive to be accessible to our patients outside of clinic, and there is an on-call doctor who is available after hours and on weekends should any emergencies arise.

5. I already have so many doctors. Will it be difficult for everyone to communicate?

At the Boston University Vasculitis Center we emphasize a team approach, both with you as well as with your other doctors. In order to provide optimal patient care, we believe it is crucial to maintain close communication with all of the health care providers who take care of you. In addition to sending our notes from each clinic visit, we are also happy to talk with your other doctors at any time.

Due to the complexity of these diseases, patients with vasculitis often have multiple doctors caring for them.  At the Boston University Vasculitis Center, we have an established network of specialty providers who have experience in caring for patients with vasculitis.  We have a streamlined referral process to other specialties, and often patients are seen within a week depending on the urgency of the case.  These specialties include pulmonary, kidney disease, ophthalmology, audiology, otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat), vascular medicine, vascular surgery, and dermatology.

6. What types of treatments are available?

Treatment options depend on your symptoms.  Because we are one of the largest vasculitis center in North America and are actively engaged in clinical research, we are able to offer therapies that are based on the latest research-based evidence.

We also conduct multiple clinical research studies in vasculitis.  If other conventional therapies have not worked well, patients have the option of participating in one of our clinical studies.

7. I feel like I’m the only person who has vasculitis. Are there any resources available?

Vasculitis is an extremely rare disease, and often it is difficult for family and friends to understand what patients are going through.  Feelings of loneliness and isolation are not uncommon among patients.

To try to address this, we offer patient information sessions at least every six months where patients have an opportunity to connect with other patients who also have vasculitis.  Presentations are given by doctors and patients, and a variety of topics are discussed including the latest treatment options, new research developments, and patient experiences in living with vasculitis.

We also have a network of patients who are available to speak to other patients either by phone or email.