What is the role of lab tests in the workup of scleroderma?

Updated: Sep 09, 2019
  • Author: Sergio A Jimenez, MD, MACR, FACP, FRCP(UK Hon); Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Findings on laboratory studies may include the following:

  • A rapid increase in serum creatinine levels is typical of scleroderma renal crisis

  • A microangiopathic hematologic picture and thrombocytopenia may precede renal crisis

  • Serum levels of muscle enzymes (creatine kinase, aldolase) are elevated in patients with inflammatory myopathy

  • CXCL4 is a very potent anti-antiangiogesis cytokine produced by plasmocytoid dendritic cells. Elevated CXCL4 serum levels have been found in a large proportion of systemic sclerosis patients and higher levels correlated with the severity of pulmonary fibrosis and progression of pulmonary hypertension [104]

  • Elevated serum levels of N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) may correlate with early pulmonary hypertension [105, 106, 107]

  • The erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is almost always normal; however, an elevated ESR is associated with a poor outcome

  • Anemia (microcytic) resulting from chronic blood loss is frequent and is often associated with iron deficiency

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