Loading icon
Press enter or spacebar to select a desired language.
Health Information Center

Polyarteritis Nodosa

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:


Polyarteritis Nodosa

(PAN; Periarteritis Nodosa)


Polyarteritis nodosa (PAN) is a blood vessel disease. Medium sized arteries become inflamed. Sometimes, smaller arteries are involved. This leads to problems with the organs. Without treatment, PAN can lead to death.


The immune system attacks healthy arteries and causes swelling. Why the immune system does this is not known. For some people the immune system may be triggered by illnesses such as tuberculosis or hepatitis B or C.

Risk Factors

PAN is more common in people 50 to 70 years of age, but it can happen at any age.

Other things that may raise the risk are:


PAN affects the whole body at the same time. A person may have:

  • General:
    • Fever
    • Weight loss
    • Joint and muscle pain
  • Skin:
    • Rashes or small bumps under the skin
    • Open sores
    • Bruises
    • Death of skin tissue
  • Nervous system:
    • Tingling, burning, pain, or numbness in the feet, hands, legs, arms, and face
    • Weakness
    • Problems thinking
  • Gastrointestinal:
    • Belly pain
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Diarrhea—may be with blood
  • Vision problems
  • Genital sores
Cut-Away View of Skin with Bruise.

si55550698http://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=77027702si55550698.jpgsi55550698.jpgNULLjpgsi55550698.jpgNULL\\hgfiler01a\intellect\images\si55550698.jpgNULL102NULL2008-12-102694007702_100691Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. There is no specific test for PAN. Tests may include:

Diagnosis is based on symptoms and test results.


The goal of treatment is to reduce swelling in the arteries. Finding and treating PAN early may help a person avoid problems it can cause.

Medicines may be given to:

  • Ease swelling in the arteries
  • Change how the immune system works
  • Help manage infections


PAN cannot be prevented.





  • de Boysson H. and Guillevin, L. Polyarteritis nodosa neurologic manifestations. Neurol Clin, 2019; 37(2): 345-357.
  • Polyarteritis nodosa. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/polyarteritis-nodosa.
  • Polyarteritis nodosa. The Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsvasculitis.org/types-vasculitis/polyarteritis-nodosa.


  • Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.