Relapsing polychondritis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Relapsing polychondritis (RP) is a rare disease causing inflammation and destruction of cartilage and other connective tissues. Specific laboratory aberrations are lacking. Predominant clinical manifestations include auricular chondritis, polyarthritis, nasal chondritis, ocular inflammation, audiovestibular damage, and respiratory tract chondritis. A relapsing course is characteristic. Airways are involved in 50% of patients and may cause dyspnea, stridor, wheezing, hoarseness, aphonia, and laryneal or tracheal tenderness. Airflow obstruction may result from RP involving the tracheobronchial tree; there is no interstitial or pulmonary vascular component. Collapse or failure of the trachea to dilate during inspiration is a key feature. Fast computed tomographic (CT) scanners can visualize dynamic airway collapse. Randomized, controlled trials of therapy have not been done. Corticosteroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used most commonly, but optimal regimens and duration of therapy have not been elucidated. Endobronchial stents or tracheostomy may be required for severe stenoses refractory to medical therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-154
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Airway collapse
  • Cartilage
  • Chondritis
  • Relapsing polychondritis
  • Tracheal stenosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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