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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Nailfold capillaroscopy is useful for the diagnosis and follow-up of autoimmune rheumatic diseases. A future tool for the analysis of microvascular heart involvement?

Raynaud's phenomenon (RP) represents the most frequent clinical aspect of cardio/microvascular involvement and is a key feature of several autoimmune rheumatic diseases. Moreover, RP is associated in a statistically significant manner with many coronary diseases. In normal conditions or in primary RP (excluding during the cold-exposure test), the normal nailfold capillaroscopic pattern shows a regular disposition of the capillary loops along with the nailbed. On the contrary, in subjects suffering from secondary RP, one or more alterations of the capillaroscopic findings should alert the physician of the possibility of a connective tissue disease not yet detected. Nailfold capillaroscopy (NV) represents the best method to analyse microvascular abnormalities in autoimmune rheumatic diseases. Architectural disorganization, giant capillaries, haemorrhages, loss of capillaries, angiogenesis and avascular areas characterize >95% of patients with overt scleroderma (SSc). The term 'SSc pattern' includes, all together, these sequential capillaroscopic changes typical to the microvascular involvement in SSc. The capillaroscopic aspects observed in dermatomyositis and in the undifferentiated connective tissue disease are generally reported as 'SSc-like pattern'. Effectively, and early in the disease, the peripheral microangiopathy may be well recognized and studied by nailfold capillaroscopy, or better with nailfold video capillaroscopy (NVC). The early differential diagnosis between primary and secondary RP is the best advantage NVC may offer. In addition, interesting capillaroscopic changes have been observed in systemic lupus erythematosus, anti-phospholipid syndrome and Sjogren's syndrome. Further epidemiological and clinical studies are needed to better standardize the NCV patterns. In future, the evaluation of nailfold capillaroscopy in autoimmune rheumatic diseases might represent a tool for the prediction of microvascular heart involvement by considering the systemic microvascular derangement at the capillary nailfold.[1]


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