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The cause of most cases of PAN is unknown. It has been suggested that deposition of immune complexes in the arterial wall initiates an inflammatory process.

Some conditions are linked with PAN and offer possible aetiological information:

  • PAN may occur following the administration of drugs which are antigenic or act as haptens:
    • sulphonamides
    • gold compounds
    • penicillins

  • acute infections may precipitate PAN:
    • hepatitis B: HBsAg is detected in 20-40% of patients with PAN
    • staphylococcal infections

  • PAN is a rare complication of serum sickness

  • PAN is associated with lymphoproliferative disorders:
    • myeloma
    • lymphoma
    • hairy cell leukaemia

Ref: (1) Savage COS.Systemic vasculitides.Medicine International (1994);22(2):53-7. (2) OTM 16.29

Last reviewed 01/2018