Relapsing Polychondritis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Catherine Burt Driver, MD
    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is the long-term outlook (prognosis) for patients with relapsing polychondritis?

The course of symptoms for patients with relapsing polychondritis is often unpredictable.

Repeated bouts of inflammation of cartilage from relapsing polychondritis frequently leads to permanent destruction of the involved tissues and results in disability. Destruction of nose and ear cartilage results in deformity and can impair breathing when the trachea is affected.

Relapsing polychondritis is potentially dangerous and even life threatening, depending on the tissues involved. Inflammation of the cartilage of the windpipe (trachea), heart, aorta, and other blood vessels can be fatal. For some patients, however, the disease is much more limited and mild. Close monitoring of symptoms with a qualified doctor is recommended for optimal results.

Medically reviewed by Kirkwood Johnston, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Rheumatology

REFERENCE:

Klippel, J.H., et al. Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases. New York: Springer, 2008.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/18/2015

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