What is the role of nail-fold capillary microscopy in the workup of scleroderma?

Updated: Nov 13, 2018
  • Author: Sergio A Jimenez, MD, MACR, FACP, FRCP(UK Hon); Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

Nail-fold capillary microscopy is a non-invasive procedure of substantial value for the assessment of microvascular alterations in systemic sclerosis. [113, 114, 115, 116] The typical findings demonstrate fewer capillaries than normal (ie, capillary loop drop; see image below) and numerous dilated, and irregular and tortuous capillary loops. Recent evidence indicates a predictive value of nailfold capillaroscopy for future severe organ involvement.

Fingernail capillary bed demonstrating capillary d Fingernail capillary bed demonstrating capillary dropout with large dilated vessels.

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