Relapsing polychondritis

Fonseca AR, et al. Relapsing polychondritis in childhood: three case reports, comparison with adulthood disease and literature review. Rheumatol Int. 2013 Jul; 33(7):1873-8.

Relapsing polychondritis (RP) is a rare autoimmune systemic disease, especially in childhood. To report three new pediatric RP cases, to provide a literature review and to compare with adulthood disease, retrospective data collection from three childhood RP cases was observed in a Brazilian Pediatric Rheumatology Division. A literature review based on a MEDLINE database search was performed. Arthritis and auricular chondritis were present in our three patients. Two cases presented with early and severe laryngotracheal chondritis, besides initial and symptomatic costochondritis. The other case developed prominent epiphyseal plate involvement. Two patients were refractory to corticosteroids and immunosuppressants and required the use of TNF-alpha inhibitors to improve the symptoms, while corticosteroids plus methotrexate induced remission in the other patient. The literature review showed 44 cases of pediatric-onset disease in English language. Arthritis and ear chondritis are the most common initial and cumulative manifestations of RP in children and adults. Nasal and laryngotracheobronchial chondritis are also common manifestations observed during follow-up in childhood. There is also an early severity of respiratory chondritis in childhood, requiring aggressive treatment with corticosteroids, immunosuppressants and biologic agents. The data presented by those 3 children, considered in conjunction with the data from the 44 published cases, may reflect some distinguishing childhood RP features, such as more severe and frequent respiratory tract involvement, symptomatic costochondritis and the atypical pattern of persistent and destructive arthritis with epiphyseal plate involvement. Response to immunosuppressants and biologic agents is anecdotal, but steroids remain the main drug during the flares.

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Sharma A, et al. Relapsing polychondritis: a review. Clin Rheumatol. 2013 Nov; 32(11): 1575-83.

Relapsing polychondritis is a rare multisystem disease involving the cartilaginous and proteoglycan rich structures. The spectrum of clinical presentations may vary from intermittent episodes of painful and often disfiguring auricular and nasal chondritis, to occasional organ or even life-threatening manifestations like airway collapse. There is lack of awareness about this disease due to its rarity. Relapsing polychondritis disease activity index has recently been validated and may help in clinical decision making and research. This article reviews the literature on this disease entity.

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Chopra R, Chaudhary N, Kay J. Relapsing polychondritis. Rheum Dis Clin North
Am. 2013 May;39(2):263-76.

Relapsing polychondritis (RP) is a rare systemic autoimmune disease characterized by episodic, progressive inflammatory destruction of cartilage. It can occur as an overlap syndrome in patients with other rheumatologic conditions. The disease usually follows an indolent relapsing-remitting course, but occasionally it can progress rapidly and even cause death. Although auricular or nasal chondritis or peripheral arthritis without other significant organ involvement are usually treated with low-dose corticosteroids, other more severe disease manifestations may require treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive agents. Biological targeted therapies might prove to be effective treatments of this condition.

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Belot A, et al. Pediatric-onset relapsing polychondritis: case series and systematic review. J Pediatr. 2010 Mar;156(3):484-9.

The mean age at first symptoms was 8.6 years, and the sex ratio was 6 male patients and 4 female patients. Children came to medical attention with joint pain, ocular inflammation, and chondritis. Outcomes included severe visual impairment, chronic destructive chondritis, and 1 death caused by aortic dilatation. Treatment mainly consisted of non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, and immunosuppressants. Growth was normal in 7 examined patients. Systematic literature review also suggested a high number of tracheostomy in pediatric cases, but this was not confirmed in our series.

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More PubMed results on relapsing polychondritis.

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