Symptom of PAN?

Question

PAN has caused damage to the nerves controlling my Moms hands and feet. My Mom has no use of either feet nor hands. Mom is 74 years old and was always active and in very good shape She was diagnosed mid-March, 2004. What are the prognosis of her nerves repairing themselves and what would the time limit be, or is this not a normal sympton caused by PAN?

Answer

Unfortunately, nerve damage or neuropathy is a frequent problem of PAN or polyarteritis nodosa. The nerve damage is caused either by inflammation of the nerve itself causing damage or inflammation of the arteries carrying blood supply to the nerve causing the nerve to die because the nerve is deprived of blood supply. In either case it is difficult to predict if the nerve will recover. If the inflammation can be reversed before permanent nerve damage occurs, then there is a good chance that the nerve will recover. Also, we are beginnning to realize that even nerves we thought were pernmanently damaged can sometimes recover– ask Christopher Reeves and the amazing improvement he has shown after his spinal cord injury.

Alan Matsumoto, M.D.

About Alan Matsumoto, M.D.

Part-time Faculty, Division of Rheumatology
Johns Hopkins University