Which physical findings are characteristic of acute intermittent porphyria (AIP)?

Updated: Jul 08, 2020
  • Author: Thomas G DeLoughery, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Vital signs during attacks of acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) include the following:

  • From 30-80% of patients have tachycardia
  • Fever can be present in some patients
  • Hypertension is observed in half of patients and may persist between attacks

Neurological manifestations are as follows:

  • Usually, the neuropathy is a motor neuropathy that is more predominant in the lower limbs
  • Areflexia often is present on examination
  • Any nerve can be involved, and cranial neuropathies also are observed
  • Patients also may have cortical blindness

Despite the intense pain, the findings on abdominal examination often are nonspecific. Skin examination is noncontributory; unlike many other porphyrias, AIP is not associated with a skin rash.

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