Polyarteritis nodosa is a systemic vasculitis that involves predominantly medium-sized vessels. In 1852,Rokitansky described a man who presented with fever, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhea, and shortly thereafter expired. Autopsy findings included small aneurysms of the arterial system, sparing the arteries of the brain and the large arteries. The aneurysms were identified as inflammatory and the disease was named periarteritis nodosa by Kussmaul and Maier in 1866. The term polyarteritis nodosa was introduced by Ferrari in 1903 to emphasize the transmural inflammation that characterizes this vasculitis (1). Because polyarteritis nodosa has overlapping features with other forms of systemic vasculitis, the nosology has been confusing. Interpretation of data from case series in the literature is difficult because many series are comprised of patients now regarded as having had different diseases. This summary of polyarteritis nodosa will describe the disease in its classic form and briefly discuss the other entities that may have a similar pattern of vasculitis.
KeywordsHerpes Zoster Systemic Vasculitis Hairy Cell Leukemia Polyarteritis Nodosa Churg Strauss Syndrome
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