Polyarteritis nodosa: Introduction
Polyarteritis nodosa is a serious disorder that causes chronic inflammation of the small and medium arteries of the body.
Inflammation of the arteries leads to an inability of the arteries to adequately supply oxygenated blood to various tissues and results in many manifestations in different organs and body systems. Polyarteritis nodosa can lead to serious complications, such as kidney failure, hypertension, heart attack and is generally fatal if untreated.
Polyarteritis nodosa is believed to be an autoimmune disorder and is one of a variety of causes of vasculitis. In an autoimmune disorder the body's immune system sees normal cells and tissues of the body as potentially dangerous invaders and attacks them. It is not known what causes this to happen in many cases of polyarteritis nodosa. However, some cases of polyarteritis nodosa are due to hepatitis B infection. Polyarteritis nodosa is far more common in men than in women. It generally occurs in people in their 40s and 50s, but can happen at any time in life.
Polyarteritis nodosa results in a wide variety of symptoms and complications that can affect many parts of the body. The most common sites of symptoms and complications include the eyes, nerves, skin, kidneys, heart, genitals, and gastrointestinal tract. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of polyarteritis nodosa.
Making a diagnosis of polyarteritis nodosa begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. There is no single test to diagnose polyarteritis nodosa. Diagnosis is based on compiling and evaluating symptoms in conjunction with medical history and a variety of tests. Many tests are performed to evaluate general health and help to determine damage to tissues and organs and complications that may be caused by suspected polyarteritis nodosa.
For example, an angiogram may be done to reveal any narrowing of arteries due to inflammation. Blood tests include a complete blood test (CBC) and an erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), which can detect if an inflammatory process is occurring in the body. An urinanalysis may detect damage to the kidneys. A nerve conduction velocity test, which identifies how fast nerves conduct electrical impulses, can help to identify which nerves are affected. A biopsy of the affected skin, muscle or nerve takes a small sample of tissue and examines it under a microscope for changes that can indicate polyarteritis nodosa.
Imaging tests, such as X-ray, CT scan, MRI, and ultrasound can detect damage that has occurred in many organs due to polyarteritis nodosa. An ECG and echocardiogram can help diagnose damage to the heart.
It is possible that a diagnosis of polyarteritis nodosa can be missed or delayed because there is no specific diagnostic test for it. Additionally, some symptoms can resemble symptoms of similar disorders. For more information on misdiagnosis and disorders that can mimic polyarteritis nodosa, refer to misdiagnosis of polyarteritis nodosa.
Polyarteritis nodosa is not curable, but with treatment, symptoms can be controlled and the risk of developing serious complications can be minimized. Treatment of polyarteritis nodosa varies depending on the severity of symptoms, the person's age and medical history, and other factors.
Treatment of polyarteritis nodosa includes medications. If diagnosed and treated early, polyarteritis nodosa can be well controlled, even cured in some cases. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of polyarteritis nodosa. ...more »
Polyarteritis nodosa: A serious blood vessel disease where small and medium-sized arteries become swollen and damaged and are unable to adequately supply oxygenated blood to various tissues in the body. The disease can occur in a mild form or a serious, rapidly fatal form.
More detailed information about the symptoms,
causes, and treatments of Polyarteritis nodosa is available below.
Polyarteritis nodosa: Symptoms
The types of symptoms of polyarteritis nodosa vary depending on the arteries affected. Manifestations can appear in many areas of the body and complications can be serious, even life-threatening.
The most common sites of complications and symptoms include the eyes, nerves, skin, kidneys, heart, genitals, and gastrointestinal tract.
Complications and symptoms of polyarteritis ...more symptoms »
Polyarteritis nodosa: Treatments
Before the develoment of modern treatments, polyarteritis nodosa was generally rapidly fatal. However, today the disorder can often be effectively controlled, even cured, especially with early diagnosis and treatment. Treatment can reduce symptoms and minimize the develoment of serious complications, such as kidney failure, heart attack, and ...more treatments »
Polyarteritis nodosa: Misdiagnosis
Pinpointing a diagnosis of polyarteritis nodosa can be difficult because there is no specific test to diagnose the disorder. In addition, a diagnosis of polyarteritis nodosa may be delayed or missed because symptoms are similar to symptoms of other underlying causes of vasculitis, such as temporal arteritis, Behcet's syndrome, Wegener's granulomatosis, and Takayasu's arteritis. ...more misdiagnosis »
Symptoms of Polyarteritis nodosa
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symptoms of Polyarteritis nodosa
Treatments for Polyarteritis nodosa
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Wrongly Diagnosed with Polyarteritis nodosa?
Polyarteritis nodosa: Related Patient Stories
Polyarteritis nodosa: Deaths
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Diagnostic Tests for Polyarteritis nodosa
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Polyarteritis nodosa: Complications
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Causes of Polyarteritis nodosa
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causes of Polyarteritis nodosa
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Disease Topics Related To Polyarteritis nodosa
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Polyarteritis nodosa: Undiagnosed Conditions
Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:
Misdiagnosis and Polyarteritis nodosa
Heart attacks can be undiagnosed: Although the most severe symptoms of heart attack are hard to miss,
there are varying degrees of severity.
It is altogether too common for people to die from undiagnosed heart...read more »
Heart attacks can be overdiagnosed: Although many people die from heart attacks, there are also
many cases where people fear that they have a...read more »
Rare heart condition often undiagnosed: The rare heart condition called long QT syndrome can lead to episodes of palpitations
and rapid heartbeat.
In rare cases, this undiagnosed condition can be fatal.
It should be considered...read more »
Heart attack can be over-diagnosed: Although heart attack is often undiagnosed,
leading to fatality, it can also be over-diagnosed.
People become concerned that a...read more »
Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue
with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood...read more »
Hypertension misdiagnosis common in children: Hypertension is often
misdiagnosed in adults (see misdiagnosis of hypertension), but its misdiagnosis is even more likely in children.
Some of the ...read more »
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Polyarteritis nodosa: Research Doctors & Specialists
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Polyarteritis nodosa: Rare Types
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Evidence Based Medicine Research for Polyarteritis nodosa
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Prognosis for Polyarteritis nodosa
Prognosis for Polyarteritis nodosa:
death often occurs within a year in acute cases
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Clinical Trials for Polyarteritis nodosa
The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally
and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.
Some of the clinical trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov for Polyarteritis nodosa include:
- Lamivudine for Chronic Hepatitis B - This study has been completed (Current: 23 Nov 2006) - Lamivudine
- Autologous Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation in Patients With Life Threatening Autoimmune Diseases - This study is no longer recruiting patients (Current: 23 Nov 2006) - anti-thymocyte globulin,cyclophosphamide,cyclosporine,filgrastim,methylprednisolone,prednisone
- Determining Disease Activity Biomarkers in Individuals With Polyarteritis Nodosa - This study is currently recruiting patients (Current: 23 Nov 2006)
- Treatment of Necrotizing Vasculitides for Patients Older Than 65 Years - This study is currently recruiting patients (Current: 23 Nov 2006) - Corticosteroids (prednisone, methylprednisolone),Cyclophosphamide,Azathioprine,Mycophenolate mofetil
- CHUSPAN PAN BP Treatment of Polyarteritis Nodosa and Microscopic Polyangiitis Without Poor-Prognosis Factors - This study is no longer recruiting patients (Current: 23 Nov 2006) - azathioprine,cyclophosphamide
- more trials...»
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Clinical Trials for Polyarteritis nodosa
Statistics for Polyarteritis nodosa
Polyarteritis nodosa: Broader Related Topics
Types of Polyarteritis nodosa
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Definitions of Polyarteritis nodosa:
Form of necrotizing vasculitis involving small- and medium-sized arteries; signs and symptoms result from infarction and scarring of the affected organ system.
- (Source - Diseases Database)
A progressive disease of connective tissue that is characterized by nodules along arteries; nodules may block the artery and result in inadequate circulation to the particular area
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)
Polyarteritis nodosa is listed as a "rare disease" by the Office of
Rare Diseases (ORD) of the National Institutes of Health
(NIH). This means that Polyarteritis nodosa, or a subtype of Polyarteritis nodosa,
affects less than 200,000 people in the US population.
Source - National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Ophanet, a consortium of European partners,
currently defines a condition rare when it affects 1 person per 2,000.
They list Polyarteritis nodosa as a "rare disease".
Source - Orphanet
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