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Raynaud Phenomenon in Systemic Sclerosis: Does Digital Thermal Monitoring Correlate to Specific...

Raynaud Phenomenon in Systemic Sclerosis: Does Digital Thermal Monitoring Correlate to Specific Nailfold Videocapillaroscopy Abnormalities?

Julie K Thomas, Mislav Radic, Jordan R Tucker, Rebecca Overbury, Tracy M Frech

J Rheumatol 2021 Feb;48(2):247-250.

Abstract Objective: Early diagnosis of systemic sclerosis (SSc) is imperative, and Raynaud phenomenon (RP) is an important component of progressive vasculopathy. Nailfold videocapillaroscopy (NVC) is a well-established tool that can quantify structural vascular abnormalities. Digital thermal monitoring (DTM) assesses microvascular functional dysfunction related to thermoregulation. In this study, we investigated the correlation of NVC patterns and DTM variables in patients with SSc.

Methods: Patients with SSc according to the 2013 American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism criteria who consented and enrolled in the clinical care registry had NVC and DTM performed. For NVC, the number of capillaries (density), measurement of apical diameter (dimension), presence or absence of hemorrhages, and number of abnormal shapes were assessed to categorize 3 different qualitative patterns: early, active, and late. For DTM, Doppler ultrasound hyperemic, low frequency, blood velocity of radial artery, and fingertip vascular function were assessed, and a vascular reactivity index (VRI) measurement was automated. Statistical evaluation was performed by nonparametric tests to assess the correlation of NVC and VRI.

Results: Thirty-one SSc subjects with interpretable NVC and DTM performed on the same day were included in the study. VRI was progressively higher in SSc patients with early, active, and late NVC patterns of microangiopathy (P < 0.0001). There was a significant negative correlation between VRI and microhemorrhages scores (r = -0.363, P = 0.044).

Conclusion: Our study suggests that more advanced vasculopathy correlates to reduced microvascular function as detected by DTM and more advanced structural abnormalities detected by NVC. NVC and DTM may provide different aspects of vasculopathy quantification and complement each other as investigative tools.

Keywords: Raynaud phenomenon; capillaries; systemic sclerosis.

Copyright © 2021 by the Journal of Rheumatology.


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