June 9, 2016 – Relapsing Polychondritis


Anchor lead:  A dizzying array of symptoms can accompany a condition called relapsing polychondritis, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Relapsing polychondritis is a rare autoimmune condition, where the body attacks its own cartilage and collagen, a tough fibrous component of skin and other body parts. Marcela Ferrada, an infectious disease physician at Johns Hopkins and someone with the condition, describes some of the organs and structures that may be involved.

Ferrada: Patients can have involvement of the heart, and the heart valves, kidneys, inner ear, as well as brain. It is very difficult to make the diagnosis because the disease comes and goes, that’s why they call it relapsing, and there’s not a biomarker your labs can be completely normal, and doctors don’t know about the disease.   :22

Ferrada is currently medical advisor to the Relapsing Polychondritis Awareness and Support Foundation, working to improve recognition of the condition, and has recently published her own case at the American Thoracic Society annual meeting.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.