What is polyarteritis nodosa (PAN)?

Updated: Nov 14, 2017
  • Author: Dana Jacobs-Kosmin, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

Classic polyarteritis nodosa (PAN or c-PAN) is a systemic vasculitis characterized by necrotizing inflammatory lesions that affect medium-sized and small muscular arteries, preferentially at vessel bifurcations. These lesions result in microaneurysm formation, aneurysmal rupture with hemorrhage, thrombosis, and, consequently, organ ischemia or infarction. [1]

Kussmaul and Maier first described PAN in 1866. The autopsy of a patient with fever, weight loss, abdominal pain, and polyneuropathy revealed areas of focal inflammatory exudations that gave rise to palpable nodules along the course of medium-sized arteries. [2]


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