Successful Treatment of Childhood Onset Refractory Polyarteritis Nodosa With Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha Blockade

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Polyarteritis nodosa is a rare systemic necrotizing vasculitis of small- and medium-sized arteries that affects patients of all ages. Its incidence ranges from 2 to 9 per million people. The 5-year survival rate is 13% in untreated patients and 77.6% with modern therapy. Standard treatment includes corticosteroids and cyclophosphamide. Despite aggressive medical management, 22.4% of patients die within 5 years, and of the survivors, medication-induced morbidity is frequent. There is great need for better treatment modalities in terms of safety and efficacy. We report the case of a 5-year-old boy with polyarteritis nodosa refractory to all known standard treatments. After 9 years of persistently active disease, at the age of 14, he was successfully managed with the tumor necrosis factor α antagonist, etanercept.

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