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Polyarteritis Nodosa

Abstract

You are reading a NORD Rare Disease Report Abstract. NORD’s full collection of reports on over 1200 rare diseases is available to subscribers (click here for details). We are now also offering two full rare disease reports per day to visitors on our Web site.

NORD is very grateful to Charles Jennette, MD, who is a Brinkhous Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, for assistance in the preparation of this report.

Synonyms of Polyarteritis Nodosa

  • PAN
  • Periarteritis
  • Periarteritis nodosa
  • Polyarteritis
  • Polyarteritis nodosa

Disorder Subdivisions

  • No subdivisions found.

General Discussion

Polyarteritis nodosa is a rare multi-system disorder characterized by widespread inflammation, weakening, and damage to small and medium-sized arteries. Blood vessels in any organ or organ system may be affected, including those supplying the kidneys, heart, intestine, nervous system, and/or skeletal muscles. Damage to affected arteries may result in abnormally increased blood pressure (hypertension), "ballooning" (aneurysm) of an arterial wall, the formation of blood clots (thrombosis), obstruction of blood supply to certain tissues, and/or tissue damage and loss (necrosis) in certain affected areas.

The disorder is more common among men, and is more likely to present during early middle age, between 40 and 50 years.

Although the exact cause of polyarteritis nodosa is not known, it is clear that an attack may be triggered by any of several drugs or vaccines or by a reaction to infections (either bacterial or viral) such as strep or staph infections or hepatitis B virus. Many researchers suspect that the disorder is due to disturbances of the body’s immune system. Confirming the diagnosis required either a biopsy showing small or medium sized arteries with alternating areas of stenosis (constriction or block) and dilation.

Polyarteritis Nodosa Resources

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