Unifying Concepts

Diagnostic Criteria for Relapsing Polychondritis (RP)

Relapsing polychondritis (RP) is a rare multisystem autoimmune disease of unknown origin characterized by recurrent episodes of inflammation and progressive destruction of cartilaginous tissues.

Diagnostic Criteria for Relapsing Polychondritis (RP)

Three or more clinical signs must be present:

  1. Recurrent chondritis both auricles
  2. Non-erosive inflammatory polyarthritis
  3. Nasal chondritis
  4. Ocular inflammation
  5. Respiratory tract chondritis
  6. Cochlear and, or, vestibular dysfunction

OR 1 or more signs with histologic confirmation

OR Chondritis in 2 or more separate sites AND response to steroids or immunosuppression

Differential diagnosis for these individual symptoms and signs includes most of the autoimmune disorders and other infectious and non-infectious granulomatous disorders including Wegener’s granulomatosis, polyarteritis nodosa (PAN), Takayasu’s arteritis, giant cell arteritis (GCA), rheumatoid arthritis, Reiter’s syndrome, rheumatic fever, polymorphic reticulosis, syphilis, tuberculosis, histoplasmosis, leprosy, sarcoidosis, and malignancy.



  1. Gergely P Jr, Poor G. Relapsing polychondritis. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2004 Oct;18(5):723-38. [Medline]


Created: May 26, 2005

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