Patients with generalized ANCA-associated small vessel vasculitis (AAV) have a very poor outcome if the ANCA-associated vasculitis is not diagnosed, evaluated and treated properly. The introduction of treatment with immunosuppressive therapy has improved patient survival dramatically but with considerable side effects. Besides, almost 50% of surviving patients experience a relapse of vasculitis. Since 1995, the European Vasculitis Society (EUVAS) has designed and conducted several clinical trials on patients with AAV independently of pharmaceutical companies. The studies included patients with newly diagnosed AAV and were stratified according to renal function and generalized versus more localized forms.
As the immediate patient survival has improved, the longer term outcome has become more important. There are several reports on outcome of patients with ANCA-associated vasculitis, but the patient groups were heterogeneous regarding diagnosis as well as treatment and follow-up. Therefore, EUVAS decided to further evaluate the effect and possible adverse events of the original randomized trials. This review presents an overview on long-term follow-up of patients with ANCA-associated vasculitis, with focus on relapse rate, patient and renal survival and development of cardiovascular disease and malignancy.