Henoch-Schönlein purpura is the most common form of systemic
vasculitis in the paediatric setting with 90% of cases occuring in
childhood. Although diagnosis in the primary care setting may be
difficult, it is vital in order to avoid significant complications.
This article outlines the pathogenesis, clinical manifestations and
classification of Henoch-Schönlein purpura and details evidence
based investigations and management.
Henoch-Schönlein purpura is a self limiting disease characterised by
a tetrad of clinical manifestations that vary in occurrence and order
of presentation. There is no single diagnostic test to confirm Henoch-
Schönlein purpura; diagnosis depends on recognition of clinical
manifestations. Management usually occurs in the ambulatory
setting and is mainly supportive. Priorities include symptom relief
and preventive therapy to reduce the risk of complications. Further
trials to clarify the role of glucocorticosteroids are needed before a
definitive role for steroids in the management of Henoch-Schönlein
purpura can be established.
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