Polyarteritis Nodosum

Polyarteritis nodosum is a vasculitis involving medium-sized arteries, most commonly at their bifurcations. Presentation usually involves the gastrointestinal tract as postprandial abdominal pain with nausea. Patients may also demonstrate kidney dysfunction, subcutaneous palpable nodules, fevers, livedo reticularis, and mononeuritis multiplex. Unlike Wegener's granulomatosis, lung involvement is not typically seen. Nervous system involvement is most often a peripheral neuropathy. Although cranial nerve palsies are uncommon, the facial nerve is the most frequently involved nerve and has been reported by several investigators (100-102). Diagnosis is confirmed with biopsy demonstrating granulomatous vasculitis as well as an elevated serum perinuclear anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (p-ANCA) and an elevated ESR with anemia. Without treatment, the overall prognosis is dismal. Treatment involves high-dose corticosteroids. Dudley and Goodman performed decompression surgery on a patient with bilateral facial paralysis from polyarteritis nodosum and found no effect (102).

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