Relapsing Polychondritis (cont.)

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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


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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