Cutaneous polyarteritis nodosa or cutaneous PAN, is a rare condition classified by inflammation of the blood vessels (responsible for transporting blood), particularly those that are in the deeper layers of the skin (cutaneous). Symptoms of cutaneous polyarteritis nodosa are sensitive bumps on the skin particularly in the lower leg and thigh region, circular welts that leave discolored patches after healing, regions of dead skin noted by their purple or black blisters, and a lace like purple pattern on the skin that surround lesions.
Skin biopsies (cell testing) of the lesions are the most common way to diagnose cutaneous polyarteritis nodosa. In most cases the cause of PAN is unknown; however in some cases, it is thought to be an over-reaction of the immune system to other infections such as Group A streptococcus, hepatitis B and C, HIV and Parvovirus or Fifth's disease. Treatment options include oral medications, ointments, or injections. It is important to consider the underlying cause, if known, to aid in treatment. Consult your doctor if you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms. If untreated, cutaneous polyarteritis nodosa may worsen and spread to other body systems thus becoming systemic polyarteritis nodosa. If you or your family member has been diagnosed with cutaneous polyarteritis nodosa, talk with your doctor or specialist about the most current treatment options.