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International Journal of Rheumatology
Volume 2010, Article ID 347402, 7 pages
Research Article

An International, Web-Based, Prospective Cohort Study to Determine Whether the Use of ACE Inhibitors prior to the Onset of Scleroderma Renal Crisis Is Associated with Worse Outcomes—Methodology and Preliminary Results

1Jewish General Hospital and McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada H3T 1E2
2Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, LA 90095, USA

Received 9 May 2010; Accepted 28 June 2010

Academic Editor: Eswar Krishnan

Copyright © 2010 Marie Hudson 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.


Background. To describe the methodology of a study designed to determine whether systemic sclerosis (SSc) patients with incident scleroderma renal crisis (SRC) on angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors prior to the onset of SRC have worse outcomes. Methods. Prospective, international cohort study of SRC subjects identified through an ongoing web-based survey. Every second Friday afternoon, an e-mail was sent to 589 participating physicians to identify new cases of SRC. Death or dialysis at one year after the onset of SRC will be compared in patients exposed or not to ACE inhibitors prior to the onset of SRC. Results. Fifteen months after the start of the survey, we had identified 76 incident cases of SRC. Of these, 66 (87%) had a hypertensive SRC and 10 (13%) a normotensive SRC. Twenty-two percent (22%) of the patients were on an ACE inhibitor immediately prior to the onset of the SRC. To date, we have collected one-year follow-up data on approximately 1/3 of the cohort. Of these, over 50% have died or remain on dialysis at one year. Conclusion. An international, web-based cohort study design is a feasible method of recruiting a substantial number of patients to study an infrequent vascular manifestation of SSc.