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Volume 2013, Article ID 957480, 5 pages
Research Article

Capillaroscopy in Psoriatic and Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Useful Tool for Differential Diagnosis

1Centre for the Study and Treatment of Psoriasis, Department of Clinical Dermatology, San Gallicano Dermatological Institute (IRCCS), Rome, Italy
2Rheumatology, Allergology and Clinical Immunology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy
3San Gallicano Dermatological Institute, Rome, Italy

Received 27 June 2013; Accepted 17 November 2013

Academic Editor: Burkhard Leeb

Copyright © 2013 Dario Graceffa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Impairment of capillaries permeability and changes of microcirculation are associated with inflammatory arthritis. In order to demonstrate microvascular differences between psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) we analyzed capillaroscopic abnormalities such as megacapillaries, haemorrhages, ramifications, and avascular areas in patients affected by these two rheumatic disorders. Moreover to identify specific capillaroscopy patterns we analyzed the following parameters: venous limb diameter, arterial limb diameter, capillary loop diameter, amplitude of the capillary loop, linear density of capillaries (on 2 mm), and number of twisted capillaries (on 4 mm). Through a comparative morphometric analysis of capillaroscopy, our study demonstrated the presence of specific microvascular differences between PsA and RA providing an additional diagnostic tool for the differential diagnosis. We also suggest that capillaries structural abnormalities might reflect endothelial injury due to systemic inflammation during chronic arthritis.