What are the CNS symptoms of polyarteritis nodosa (PAN)?

Updated: Dec 17, 2020
  • Author: Dana Jacobs-Kosmin, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Transient symptoms of cerebral ischemia, including typical spells of transient monocular blindness, are the most common presenting CNS deficits of PAN. Cerebral arteritis usually presents late in the course of the disease, usually in the second to third year of the vasculitis. Cerebral arteritis may cause arterial thrombosis with cerebral ischemia or intraparenchymal or subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Global CNS dysfunction with encephalopathy and seizures results from metabolic derangements secondary to multiple organ failure. Acute or subacute myelopathy with paraparesis can occur at any cord level. Myelopathy may result, although rarely, from cord compression by an extramedullary hematoma secondary to a ruptured spinal aneurysm. Although CNS lesions usually occur 2-3 years after the onset of PAN, earlier CNS involvement has been reported.

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