What is relapsing polychondritis (RP)?

Updated: Dec 24, 2020
  • Author: Nicholas Compton, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Relapsing polychondritis (RP) is a severe, episodic, and progressive inflammatory condition involving cartilaginous structures, predominantly those of the ears, nose, and laryngotracheobronchial tree. Other affected structures may include the eyes, cardiovascular system, peripheral joints, skin, middle and inner ear, and central nervous system. [1]

The array of possible presenting symptoms and the episodic nature of relapsing polychondritis may result in a significant delay in diagnosis. In addition, no laboratory findings are specific for relapsing polychondritis. A laboratory evaluation commensurate with the spectrum of reported symptoms is indicated to ascertain the presence of complicating conditions. The mainstay of treatment is systemic corticosteroid therapy.

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