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Abstract

Objective

To analyze the main characteristics and outcome of polyarteritis nodosa (PAN)–type vasculitis associated with hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Methods

We reported the characteristics and outcome of 31 patients chronically infected with HCV who satisfied the American College of Rheumatology and Chapel Hill criteria for PAN, seen between 1990 and 2009 in a university center.

Results

Among a cohort of 161 patients with HCV-related vasculitis, 31 (19.3%) were diagnosed as having PAN. The median age was 64.5 years (interquartile range 49.5–70.5 years), with 54.8% women. Compared with HCV-associated mixed cryoglobulinemia (HCV-MC) vasculitis, HCV-PAN displayed a more severe and acute clinical presentation with more frequent fever and weight loss (P < 0.0001), severe hypertension (P = 0.0006), gastrointestinal tract involvement (P < 0.0001), severe acute sensory-motor multifocal mononeuropathy (P < 0.0001), kidney and liver microaneurysms (P = 0.002), and increased C-reactive protein level (P < 0.0001). Complete clinical remission of vasculitis was achieved in 79.3% of HCV-PAN patients compared to 57.5% of HCV-MC patients (P = 0.05). In multivariate analysis, skin involvement (odds ratio [OR] 2.81, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.27–6.33) and PAN-type vasculitis (OR 3.01, 95% CI 1.16–8.96) were independently associated with a complete clinical response of HCV vasculitis. A glomerular filtration rate <70 ml/minute (OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.24–1.21) was negatively associated with a complete clinical response of HCV vasculitis. The 5-year survival rate was 86% in the entire cohort, regardless of the vasculitis type.

Conclusion

HCV-PAN accounts for 19.3% of our cohort of HCV vasculitis. HCV-PAN displays a more severe and acute clinical presentation and a higher rate of clinical remission.