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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Polyarteritis nodosa

Other Names for this Disease
  • PAN
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Your Question

I was diagnosed with polyarteritis nodosa last year and had to have my leg amputated.  What is the estimated rate of recurrence for this condition?  What is the life expectancy for people with this condition?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

How often does polyarteritis nodosa return (relapse) after initial treatment?

One study of 348 individuals with polyarteritis nodosa found that approximately 22% of people experienced a return of symptoms (a relapse) within 5.5 years of their initial diagnosis and treatment.  Individuals in whom the polyarteritis nodosa was associated with a hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection were less likely to have a relapse than those in whom the polyarteritis nodosa was not associated with HBV.  Another factor that seemed to increase the chance of a relapse included having skin (cutaneous) findings at diagnosis, such as nodules, or purple or bluish patches in the skin (purpura or livedo, respectively).[1]
Last updated: 1/18/2012

What is the average life expectancy for individuals with polyarteritis nodosa?

We could not find a description of the average life expectancy for individuals with polyarteritis nodosa.  However, one study examined the overall mortality of a group of individuals with this condition.  Mortality is a measure of the proportion of individuals in a group who die in a given time period.  Of 348 individual with polyarteritis nodosa, approximately 20% had died within 5 years of initial diagnosis and treatment; approximately 32% had died within 10 years.  Only a third of these deaths was directly caused by severe symptoms of polyarteritis nodosa.  Factors which increased the risk of death included being older than 65 years, being recently diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension), or having gastrointestinal symptoms that required surgery at the time of diagnosis (for example, abdominal pain, internal bleeding, pancreatitis, cholecystitis, appendicitis).[1]
Last updated: 1/18/2012

  • Pagnoux C, Seror R, Henegar C, Mahr A, Cohen P, Le Guern V, Bienvenu B, Mouthon L, Guillevin L; French Vasculitis Study Group. Clinical features and outcomes in 348 patients with polyarteritis nodosa: a systematic retrospective study of patients diagnosed between 1963 and 2005 and entered into the French Vasculitis Study Group Database. Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2010; 62:616-626. Accessed 1/16/2012.