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Relapsing Polychondritis N045

Last amended 
9 January 2017
Current RMA Instruments
Reasonable Hypothesis SOP
5 of 2017
Balance of Probabilities SOP
6 of 2017
Changes from previous Instruments

SOP Bulletin194.pdf

ICD Coding
  • ICD-9-CM Codes: 733.99
  • ICD-10-AM Codes: M94.1
Brief description

Relapsing polychondritis is an uncommon autoimmune condition that causes recurring episodes of inflammation and destruction of cartilage.  The ears, nose and airways are most commonly affected.  Multi-joint arthritis is also common.  Other organs may be affected. 

Confirming the diagnosis

The diagnosis is made on the basis of the clinical findings, supportive laboratory evidence, imaging procedures, and biopsy of an involved cartilaginous site.  Biopsy of auricular cartilage during active disease may show histological changes that are pathognomonic, but biospy of other sites or during a non-active phase may not be conclusive.

The relevant medical specialist is a rheumatologist.

Additional diagnoses covered by SOP
  • Nil
Clinical onset

Early manifesations may remain unrecognised for long periods and diagnosis is often delayed.  Ear inflamation is the most common presenting feature.  Once the diagnosis has been confirmed it may be possible to back date clinical onset to the commencement of earlier symptoms.

Clinical worsening

The only SOP worsening factor is for inability to obtain appropriate clinical management.  The course of the disease is unpredictable.  No treatment has been shown to modify the natural history of the disease.  Successful suppression of the clinical features can be achieved.