Colonic Ulcers in a Patient With Hepatitis C Virus-Associated Polyarteritis Nodosa

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An elderly woman presented with abdominal discomfort, pulmonary infiltrates, acute renal failure, purpura, and massive hematochezia. Numerous colonic ulcers with underlying fibrinoid necrotizing arteritis were found in the colectomy specimen. Anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies and HCV RNA were present in the serum. The diagnosis of HCV-associated polyarteritis nodosa was clear. This clinical presentation differs from the more commonly occurring vasculitis complicating HCV infection, which is of the leukocytoclastic type, and is associated with overt liver disease and cryoglobulinemia. In our patient, results of liver tests were normal, there was no cryoglobulinemia, and the vasculitis was of the fibrinoid necrotizing arteritis type. HCV-associated polyarteritis nodosa should be considered in the differential diagnosis of necrotizing fibrinoid arteritis even in a patient with normal liver function test results and in the absence of cryoglobulinemia.

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