Home > Diseases and Conditions > Polyarteritis nodosa
  • We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information

PubMed Health. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): A.D.A.M.; 2013.

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.

Polyarteritis nodosa

Periarteritis nodosa

Last reviewed: July 8, 2012.

Polyarteritis nodosa is a serious blood vessel disease in which small and medium-sized arteries become swollen and damaged.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Polyarteritis nodosa is a disease that affects arteries, the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to organs and tissues. The cause is unknown, but it occurs when certain immune cells attack the affected arteries.

More adults than children get this disease. The tissues that are fed by the affected arteries do not get the oxygen and nourishment they need, and become damaged.

People with active hepatitis B and C may develop this disease.

Symptoms

Symptoms are caused by damage to affected organs, often the skin, heart, kidneys, and nervous system.

Symptoms include:

If nerves are affected, you may have numbness, pain, burning, and weakness. Damage to the nervous system may cause strokes or seizures.

Signs and tests

No lab tests are available to diagnose polyarteritis nodosa. You will have a physical examination.

Lab tests that can help confirm the diagnosis include:

Treatment

Treatment uses medications to suppress the immune system, including steroids such as prednisone. Often, similar medications, such as cyclophosphamide, are used.

For polyarteritis nodosa that is related to hepatitis, treatment may involve plasmapheresis and antiviral medicines.

Expectations (prognosis)

Current treatments with steroids and other drugs that suppress the immune system (such as cyclophosphamide) can improve symptoms and the chance of long-term survival.

The most serious complications usually involve the kidneys and gastrointestinal tract.

Without treatment, the outlook is poor.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms of this disorder. Early diagnosis and treatment may improve the chance of a good outcome.

Prevention

There is no known prevention. However, early treatment can prevent some damage and symptoms.

References

  1. Sergent JS. Polyarteritis and related disorders. In: Harris ED Jr., Budd RC, Genovese MC, Firestein GS, Sargent JS, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008: chap 83.
  2. Stone JH. The systemic vasculitides. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011: chap 278.

Review Date: 7/8/2012.

Reviewed by: Ariel D. Teitel, MD, MBA, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsementscof those other sites. © 1997–2011 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Copyright © 2013, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsementscof those other sites. © 1997–2011 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Copyright © 2013, A.D.A.M., Inc.

Figures

  • Polyarteritis, microscopic on the shin.
    Microscopic polyarteritis 2.
    Circulatory system.

PubMed Health Blog...

read all...

MedlinePlus.gov links to free, reliable, up-to-date health information from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other trusted health organizations.

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...