What is DCVAS?

Diagnostic and Classification Criteria in Vasculitis Study (DCVAS)

Vasculitis is group of diseases where inflammation of blood vessels is the common feature. Patients typically present with fever, fatigue, weakness and muscle and joint aches. These symptoms are very common among many different diseases, not just vasculitis.

DCVAS is a multinational, observational study that aims to develop diagnostic criteria and update classification criteria in vasculitis. Clinicians often use a list of signs and symptoms known as diagnostic criteria to determine if a patient has a particular disease. There are currently no diagnostic criteria for vasculitis. Having clear diagnostic criteria will help reduce delays in making the correct diagnosis and starting appropriate therapy. Classification criteria are used to group patients into different types of vasculitis and are useful for studying patients in clinical trials. The current classification criteria were developed before the availability of modern tests such as ANCA testing or MRI. With our increasing understanding of vasculitis, it is now time to revise these criteria.

DCVAS is funded by a number of organisations in support of specific objectives. The American College of Rheumatology and the European League Against Rheumatism have funded the development of classification criteria; the Vasculitis Foundation has provided funding for the overall project. The study is led and coordinated from the University of Oxford. Over 100 sites across 30 countries in Asia, Australasia, Europe, North America, South America and UK will be included in the study. Sites will recruit a total of 3500 patients, 2000 with a new diagnosis of vasculitis and 1500 with similar symptoms to those with vasculitis. As of October 2016 over 6000 patients have been recruited into the study. Recruitment continues until June 2017.