Henoch-Schonlein Purpura

Also known as: HSP, IgA vasculitis, anaphylactoid purpura.

What is Henoch-Schonlein Purpura?

Henoch-Schonlein Purpura is a common vasculitis (inflammation and bleeding of blood vessels) of the small blood vessels of the skin, mucous membranes, joints, intestines and kidneys in children, between 2-6 years of age (slightly more common in boys and in Whites and Asians). 

What causes Henoch-Schonlein Purpura? 
Henoch-Schonlein Purpura is caused by an abnormal immune response, in which the body’s immune system attacks its own blood vessels. 30%-50% of children have had a previous upper respiratory tract infection (like a cold) before HSP; it may also be associated with other viral infections (like chickenpox, measles, hepatitis etc.), certain medications, foods, insect bites, or trauma. There may be a genetic component as other family members in the same family may be affected.

What are the symptoms of Henoch-Schonlein Purpura? 
Symptoms include: rash (leaking blood vessels leads to pinpoint red dots or bruises) on the buttocks, legs, and arms; digestive tract symptoms (vomiting, abdominal pain and blood in the stool); arthritis (pain and swelling of joints); kidneys (common-blood in the urine, proteins in the urine and high blood pressure) and other system involvement (including brain and lungs).

What are Henoch-Schonlein Purpura care options? 
There is no specific treatment for Henoch-Schonlein Purpura. Treatments are aimed at managing all the symptoms/problems, and include medications (and occasionally surgery) to treat joint pain and kidney and/or digestive problems.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 5/23/2018 2:22:22 PM

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