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Associations of digital ulcers in patients with systemic sclerosis: an 8-year retrospective study.

INTRODUCTION: This study aimed to investigate the associations of digital ulcers (DUs) in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc).

METHODS: This retrospective study investigated the demographic characteristics, specific autoantibodies, organ involvement, and laboratory tests in patients with SSc from our hospital.

RESULTS: This study enrolled 144 patients with SSc. The DU+ group consisted of 15 (10.4%) patients. Patients with SSc having DUs have longer disease duration, higher fibrinogen, higher fibrin degradation product, and lower cholesterol. None of the patients used cholesterol-lowering drugs before onset of DUs. The study also demonstrated a higher prevalence of anti-dsDNA and anti-histone antibodies in patients with SSc with DUs. Anti-dsDNA antibody is a specific antibody for SLE with a specificity of 96%-99%. A total of 86.1% (124/144) of patients suffered from diffuse cutaneous SSc, and 28.5% (41/144) of patients suffered from overlap syndrome.

CONCLUSION: Our study indicated that patients with SSc with fibrinogen of >2.895 g/L (P = 0.043) and cholesterol of <3.340 mmol/L (P = 0.036), which is equal to 129.258mg/dl, are at high risk of developing DUs.

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