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Nailfold Capillaroscopy Within and Beyond the Scope of Connective Tissue Diseases

[ Vol. 14 , Issue. 1 ]

Author(s):

Sevdalina Nikolova Lambova* and Ulf Muller-Ladner   Pages 12 - 21 ( 10 )

Abstract:


Background: Nailfold capillaroscopy is a noninvasive instrumental method for morphological analysis of the nutritive capillaries in the nailfold area. In rheumatology, it is a method of choice among instrumental modalities for differential diagnosis between primary and secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon (RP) in systemic rheumatic diseases. RP is a common diagnostic problem in rheumatology. Defining the proper diagnosis is a prerequisite for administration of the appropriate treatment. Thus, nailfold capillaroscopic examination is of crucial importance for the every-day practice of the rheumatologists and is currently gaining increasing attention. The most specific capillaroscopic changes are observed in Systemic Sclerosis (SSc). Due to the high prevalence of the capillaroscopic changes in this clinical entity and their early appearance, they could be used for early and very early diagnosis of the disease. More recently, “scleroderma” type capillaroscopic changes have been defined as diagnostic criterion in the new EULAR/ACR classification criteria for SSc together with the presence of scleroderma-related autoantibodies, RP, telangiectasia and other clinical signs. Capillaroscopic changes in other connective tissue diseases and in different rheumatic-like conditions like those in diabetes mellitus (e.g., diabetic stiff-hand syndrome) and paraneoplastic syndromes associated with microvascular pathology should be interpreted properly in order to obtain precise diagnosis in the shortest possible differential diagnostic process.

Keywords:

Nailfold capillaroscopy, Raynaud's phenomenon, systemic sclerosis, connective tissue disease, rheumatic-like conditions, diabetic stiff-hand syndrome.

Affiliation:

Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Kerckhoff Clinic, Bad Nauheim, Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Kerckhoff Clinic, Bad Nauheim

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