Approach to Vasculitic Neuropathies

imageSince vasculitic neuropathy is treatable and potentially debilitating, clinicians should develop an approach to neuropathy that increases the likelihood of uncovering existing systemic or nonsystemic vasculitis. The presence of a connective tissue disease, systemic vasculitis, asymmetric or non-length-dependent axonal polyneuropathy, or multiple axonal mononeuropathies should heighten suspicion, but vasculitic neuropathy can also present as a distal symmetric polyneuropathy with or without other organ involvement. Electrodiagnostic testing utilizing extensive nerve conductions may be helpful in identifying features suggestive of vasculitic neuropathy and in selecting an abnormal nerve and muscle for biopsy confirmation. An array of laboratory tests may lead to identification of a systemic disorder that is either characterized by or predisposes to vasculitic neuropathy. The mainstays of treatment are corticosteroids and cyclophosphamide, but other drugs are used in specific conditions. With early diagnosis and careful monitoring of treatment regimens, the prognosis is usually good.

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