BACKGROUND: Nail fold capillaroscopy has been largely used in the diagnosis of systemic sclerosis. It has been recently discovered that this test is also able to predict internal organ damage in systemic sclerosis. OBJECTIVE: This study was carried out to verify whether nail fold capillaroscopy findings are correlated with disease severity. METHODS: We studied nail fold capillaroscopy findings regarding dilated and avascular areas from 14 patients with systemic sclerosis; degree of skin involvement by means of a modified Rodnan index; and disease severity with the scale proposed by Medsger et al. RESULTS: The results showed that the number of avascular areas has a good correlation with disease severity (p = 0.043), but not with the number of dilated capillaries (p = 0.57). The degree of cutaneous thickening was not related to the degree of capillary dilatation (p = 0.76), but tended to be associated with avascular areas (p = 0.07). CONCLUSION: The authors conclude that the number of avascular areas in nail fold capillaroscopy could be used as a sign of disease severity in systemic sclerosis.
Scleroderma, limited; Scleroderma, systemic; Severity of illness index