Children's Hospital Colorado

Diagnosis of Henoch-Schonlein Purpura in Children (S2:E12)

Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP) is a disorder that leads to inflammation and bleeding in the small blood vessels of skin, joints, intestines and kidneys. HSP may be the cause when a parent or pediatrician notices a purplish rash, often on the lower legs and buttocks. HSP can also present with abdominal pain and aching joints.

While the majority of cases of HSP in children will resolve on their own, some patients will experience gastrointestinal distress, renal complications and kidney damage. Experts don't yet know the exact cause of the initial inflammation associated with HSP, but hypothesize that it could be due to a strong immune response in some children.

Listen to pediatric medicine experts discuss HSP

Today we are joined by Jens Goebel, MD, and Robert Fuhlbrigge, MD, to discuss the diagnosis and treatment for typical to unique presentations of HSP. Dr. Goebel is the Chief of Nephrology at Children's Hospital Colorado. Dr. Fuhlbrigge is Chief of Rheumatology at Children's Colorado.

In this episode, our experts discuss:

  • Effects of systemic corticosteroids on HSP symptoms and potential complications
  • The incidence of pediatric HSP and what ages are most likely to be affected
  • Classification criteria for the onset of HSP in young patients
  • The events and drive of HSP at a molecular level
  • Tests that are helpful for confirming a diagnosis of HSP and for understanding the risk of progression
  • How often to screen young HSP patients who are at risk for nephritis
  • Recommended treatment decisions for children with more severe HSP and complications
  • The incidence of recurrent flares of HSP symptoms in children and adolescents and how to manage them
  • Unusual presentation of HSP symptoms in pediatric patients that all physicians should know about

Diagnosing and treating HSP in the pediatrician's office

As our two pediatric experts explain, HSP is most often diagnosed and treated in the pediatrician or family doctor's office. If a pediatrician has questions or concerns about the degree to which the child's kidneys are being affected they should feel empowered to seek advice from a pediatric nephrologist.

Treating childhood HSP at Children's Colorado

Children and adolescents with Henoch-Schonlein purpura will first be treated by our Pediatric Primary Care Department. In more severe cases, patients will be cared for by the expert teams in our Rheumatology and Nephrology departments. Our pediatricians and pediatric specialists offer a wide range of services for the diagnosis, treatment and management of HSP. Refer a patient to Children's Colorado.