CRDAMC Homepage | CRDAMC Library Phone #: (254) 288-8366 | CRDAMC Library Fax #: (254) 288-8368

Search Health Library

Polyarteritis Nodosa

(PAN; Periarteritis Nodosa)

Pronounced: polly-ar-ter-ITIS no-DO-sah

Definition

Polyarteritis nodosa is an autoimmune disease. The immune system is the body’s defense system. It fights diseases and infections. An autoimmune disease is a condition in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the body. With polyarteritis nodosa, medium-sized arteries and, less commonly, small arteries become inflamed and damaged. The inflammation of the arteries affects many different organs.

Causes    TOP

The cause of polyarteritis nodosa is unknown. In rare cases, however, it occurs with hepatitis B virus infection or hairy cell leukemia.

Risk Factors    TOP

Polyarteritis nodosa is more common in people 40 to 60 years of age, although it can occur at any age. It is also more common in men.

Factors that may increase your chance of developing polyarteritis nodosa include:

Symptoms    TOP

Polyarteritis nodosa is a multisystem disease. This means that it affects many parts of your body at the same time. It can affect organs such as the skin, kidney, nerves, and gastrointestinal tract, which includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines.

Often, you will experience headache, fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, and fever. Other symptoms include:

  • Skin:
    • Rashes
    • Open sores on the skin
    • Small bumps under the skin
    • Bruises
    • Death of skin tissues

    Cut-Away View of Skin with Bruise

    si55550698
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
  • Nervous system:
    • Tingling, burning, pain, or numbness in your feet, hands, legs, arms, and face
    • Decreased alertness
    • Inability to think clearly
  • Gastrointestinal:
    • Pain in the abdomen
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Bloody and non-bloody diarrhea
  • Vision problems

    Detachment of Retina

    Retinal tear
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
  • Genital sores

Diagnosis    TOP

There is no single test to diagnose polyarteritis nodosa. You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:

Your muscles and nerves may be tested. This can be done with a nerve conduction study.

Your vascular system may be tested. This can be done with an arteriogram.

Treatment    TOP

Early diagnosis and treatment of polyarteritis nodosa may improve the outcome. Treatment may be aggressive, with the goal being to reduce the inflammation of the arteries and put the condition into remission.

Without treatment, the condition may be fatal. Complications from polyarteritis nodosa include stroke, kidney failure, heart attack, and permanent tissue damage of the intestines.

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:

  • Corticosteroids—High doses of steroids can reduce inflammation of the arteries.
  • Immunosuppressive drugs—Suppressing the immune system helps decrease inflammation of the arteries by countering the body’s autoimmune reaction.
  • Antiviral drugs—When hepatitis B or C is present, antiviral medications are helpful in addition to immunosuppressive drugs.

Prevention    TOP

There is no known way to prevent polyarteritis nodosa.

RESOURCES:

Polyarteritis Nodosa Research and Support Network
http://www.pansupportnetwork.org
Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium
http://rarediseasesnetwork.epi.usf.edu/vcrc

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders
http://www.cord.ca
Canadian Rheumatology Association
http://www.rheum.ca

References:

Polyarteritis nodosa. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated March 15, 2016. Accessed September 26, 2016.
Types of vasculitis: polyarteritis nodosa. The Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed June 13, 2016.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Last Updated: 5/11/2013

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at healthlibrarysupport@ebsco.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.

Health Library: Editorial Policy | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Support
36000 Darnall Loop Fort Hood, Texas 76544-4752 | Phone: (254) 288-8000