The clinical spectrum of necrotizing angiopathy of the peripheral nervous system

Ann Neurol. 1985 Aug;18(2):251-7. doi: 10.1002/ana.410180213.


The peripheral neuropathy seen with necrotizing angiopathy is said to begin classically as a mononeuritis multiplex, usually associated with polyarteritis nodosa, rheumatoid arthritis, or systemic lupus erythematosus. Our experience, however, suggests that a large number of these patients do not have a well-defined collagen vascular disease or the typical clinical pattern. In 350 consecutive nerve biopsies (sural or superficial radial), 16 patients showed a necrotizing angiopathy in the epineurial blood vessels. Six of these 16 patients had a distal symmetrical sensorimotor polyneuropathy. The remaining 10 had a mononeuritis multiplex, although in 8 overlapping nerve involvement somewhat obscured the picture of mononeuritis. In 12 patients, no specific underlying collagen vascular disease could be diagnosed by accepted criteria despite extensive clinical, radiological, and serological evaluations. The peripheral neuropathy was the only objective evidence of vasculitis in 7 of these 12 patients. Our findings suggest that patients with a peripheral neuropathy secondary to necrotizing angiopathy often do not have a definable collagen vascular disease. In fact, peripheral neuropathy may be the sole manifestation of vasculitis. Furthermore, the neuropathy was found to be a distal symmetrical sensorimotor neuropathy in a higher proportion of cases than has been documented previously.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Azathioprine / therapeutic use
  • Blood Vessels / pathology
  • Cyclophosphamide / therapeutic use
  • Electrodiagnosis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Conduction
  • Peripheral Nerves / blood supply*
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Vasculitis / diagnosis*
  • Vasculitis / drug therapy
  • Vasculitis / pathology


  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Azathioprine
  • Prednisone