What is it?

Polyarteritis nodosa (PAN) is a rare form of vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels) that is causing damage to organs such as nerves, intestinal tract, heart and joints. It can also cause high blood pressure by affecting the kidney vessels, causing renal damage. Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels, making them weak and stretched, putting the patient at risk for aneurysms. In PAN, vasculitis affects medium-sized vessels and can occur at any age. It is unknown what causes PAN, but it has to do with the immune system, and it is sometimes linked to hepatitis B virus and hairy cell leukemia. PAN complications include stroke, heart failure and intestinal necrosis and perforation.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Giant Cell Arteritis
- Temporal Arteritis
- Polyarteritis Nodosa
- Microscopic polyangiitis
- Microscopic polyarteritis nodosa
- Goodpasture's Syndrome
- Hypersensitivity Angiitis

Signs & symptoms

Polyarteritis nodosa symptoms may include fatigue, fever, loss of appetite and weight, muscle pain, joint pain, skin sore, livedo reticularis, skin nodules and ulcers, abdominal pain, bloody stools, shortness of breath, chest pain, high blood pressure, numbness and weakness.


Polyarteritis nodosa is diagnosed based upon medical history and physical examination. Blood test and urinalysis may be done to look for elevated white blood cells, increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and elevated CRP, elevated creatinine or BUN, serology for hepatitis B or . A biopsy, typically of the sural nerve, can confirm artery inflammation. Angiography can detect aneurysms or constricted blood flow. In polyarteritis nodosa, small aneurysms are strung like the beads of a rosary,therefore making "rosary sign" an important diagnostic feature of the vasculitis.


Polyarteritis nodosa is treated with immunosuppressive drugs such as corticosteroids, cyclophosphamide, methotrexate or azathioprine.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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