Relapsing polychondritis in a liver transplant recipient: A case report

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Abstract

Rationale:

Relapsing polychondritis (RP) is a multisystemic, progressive disease of unknown etiology characterized by recurrent inflammation and progressive cartilage destruction. It can involve all types of cartilage including ears and nose, tracheobronchial tree, joints, and any other tissue rich in proteoglycans such as heart, eyes, and blood vessels. Recurrent chondritis can be life-threatening if the respiratory tract, heart valves, or blood vessels are affected. To date there is no data in the literature on the post solid organ transplantation RP.

Patient concerns:

We present a 59-year-old male liver transplant recipient with primary sclerosing cholangitis who developed RP of the earlobes and nose despite post-transplant immunosuppression.

Diagnoses:

Based on the clinical criteria, scintigraphy and biopsy from the left auricle his condition was diagnosed as RP.

Interventions:

Pulses of methylprednisolone followed by high-dose oral steroids along with azathioprine were administered.

Outcomes:

Such therapy diminished local cartilage inflammation, improved patient's general condition and the laboratory results. Significant loss of ear cartilage and characteristic “saddlenose” were observed after remission of acute symptoms. The control scintigraphy proved very good treatment response.

Lessons:

To the best of our knowledge this is the first report on the RP in liver transplant recipient. Based on our patient presentation, we suggest that RP should be suspected in any transplant recipient with cartilage inflammation, and that the Michet's clinical criteria and scintigraphy seem to be the best diagnostic tools for solid organ transplant recipients suspected of RP.

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