Henoch-Schönlein Purpura (HSP)

What is Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP)?

Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP) is a form of vasculitis, a condition which involves inflammation of the blood vessels. It is one of the most common forms of vasculitis in childhood. HSP is seen most frequently in children between the ages of 5 and 15 years, and occurs more frequently in boys.

What causes Henoch-Schönlein purpura?

As with the other forms of vasculitis, the cause of HSP is not known.

What are the symptoms of Henoch-Schönlein purpura?

The following are the most common symptoms of Henoch-Schönlein purpura. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • purpura - hemorrhage (bleeding) into the skin, mucous membranes, internal organs, and other tissues.
  • arthralgia - pain in the joints.
  • inflammation of the joints.
  • abdominal pain
  • gastrointestinal bleeding - bleeding in the gastrointestinal, or GI, tract, which includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
  • nephritis - inflammation of the kidneys.
  • subcutaneous edema - swelling just below the skin.
  • encephalopathy - dysfunction of the brain (rare).
  • orchitis - inflammation of the testicle(s).

The symptoms of Henoch-Schönlein purpura may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

Treatment for Henoch-Schönlein purpura:

Specific treatment for Henoch-Schönlein purpura will be determined by your child's physician based on:

  • your child's overall health and medical history
  • extent of the condition
  • your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, and therapies
  • expectation for the course of the disease
  • specific organs that are affected
  • your opinion or preference

Treatments for HSP may include:

  • adequate hydration, or fluid intake
  • careful attention to nutrition
  • pain control with medications such as acetaminophen
  • glucocorticoids (to control inflammation)
  • ongoing scheduled urine and blood pressure monitoring