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.
About Alan Matsumoto, M.D.
Part-time Faculty, Division of Rheumatology
Johns Hopkins University