Takayasu arteritis (TA)

Takayasu arteritis (TA) is a type of vasculitis. It's an inflammatory disease that affects the main artery from the heart (the aorta) and its large branches, usually in younger women. It's rare in the UK (there are only 100 new cases a year) but it's more common in the Far East and Africa.

TA causes the arteries to narrow, and this can reduce the blood supply. The narrowing develops slowly and the arteries don't usually block completely, so there isn't usually a dangerous loss of blood supply to the arms or legs or any major organs.

Other major arteries can also be affected, including:

  • the carotid arteries in the head and brain
  • coronary arteries in the heart
  • renal arteries to the kidneys
  • arteries that take blood to the arm.