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The capillaroscopic findings in idiopathic pernio: is it a microvascular disease?

Modern Rheumatology 2013 September
OBJECTIVES: Pernio is a disorder that affects the unprotected skin regions of individuals who are exposed to nonfreezing, damp cold. We aimed to examine nailfold capillaries by video capillaroscopy and evaluate the vascular involvement in patients with idiopathic pernio.

METHODS: Fifty-three patients with idiopathic pernio (male/female ratio 35:18, mean age 25 ± 9 years) and 38 age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers (male/female ratio 30:8, mean age 24 ± 4 years) were included in the study. Forty-seven of the 53 patients and all the healthy volunteers were evaluated by nailfold video capillaroscopy.

RESULTS: In the patient group, the mean capillary diameter and the mean apical capillary diameter were 56 ± 15 and 24 ± 7 μm, respectively. In the control group, the mean capillary diameter and the mean apical capillary diameter were 37 ± 8 and 15 ± 4 μm, respectively (both p < 0.001). Both of these differences were independent of the disease activity, smoking, and the number of pernio episodes. There were no architectural derangements, avascular areas, or hemorrhages.

CONCLUSIONS: In the present study, increased nailfold capillary diameter and increased apical capillary diameter were found in patients with pernio regardless of the disease activity. These findings suggest organic damage of the microcirculation.

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