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Polyarteritis nodosa

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

Treatments for Polyarteritis nodosa

Home Diagnostic Testing

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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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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 more »

Heart attacks can be overdiagnosed: Although many people die from heart attacks, there are also many cases where people fear that they have 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 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 more »

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test 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 more »

Polyarteritis nodosa: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Polyarteritis nodosa

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Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Polyarteritis nodosa, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Polyarteritis nodosa: Rare Types

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Evidence Based Medicine Research for Polyarteritis nodosa

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Polyarteritis nodosa: Animations

Prognosis for Polyarteritis nodosa

Prognosis for Polyarteritis nodosa: death often occurs within a year in acute cases

Research about Polyarteritis nodosa

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Clinical Trials for Polyarteritis nodosa

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Polyarteritis nodosa include:

Statistics for Polyarteritis nodosa

Polyarteritis nodosa: Broader Related Topics

Polyarteritis nodosa Message Boards

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User Interactive Forums

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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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