What are the possible complications of relapsing polychondritis (RP)?

Updated: Dec 06, 2018
  • Author: Nicholas Compton, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Complications of relapsing polychondritis such as saddle-nose deformity (see the image below), systemic vasculitis, laryngotracheobronchial stricture, arthritis, and anemia in patients younger than 51 years portend a poorer prognosis than in age-matched patients with relapsing polychondritis without complications. In patients older than 51 years, only anemia is associated with a poorer prognosis. Renal involvement is a poor prognostic factor at all ages.

Saddle-nose deformity. Courtesy of the University Saddle-nose deformity. Courtesy of the University of Washington, Division of Dermatology.

Complications of relapsing polychondritis include the following:

  • Vertigo
  • Tinnitus
  • Voice hoarseness
  • Joint deformity
  • Epiglottitis
  • Scleritis
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Iritis
  • Need for permanent tracheotomy (severe cases)
  • Severe pulmonary infection
  • Blindness
  • Frail chest wall
  • Respiratory failure
  • Aortic dissection
  • Glomerulonephritis-associated renal failure

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