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International Journal of Rheumatology
Volume 2010, Article ID 784947, 6 pages
Review Article

Capillaroscopy as an Outcome Measure for Clinical Trials on the Peripheral Vasculopathy in SSc—Is It Useful?

1Research Laboratory and Academic Unit of Clinical Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genova, Viale Benedetto XV, 6, 16132 Genova, Italy
2Department of Rheumatology, Ghent University Hospital, 9000 Ghent, Belgium

Received 15 May 2010; Accepted 6 July 2010

Academic Editor: Lorinda Chung

Copyright © 2010 Maurizio Cutolo 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.


Peripheral microvascular impairment in systemic sclerosis (SSc) may be easily detected and scored in a safe noninvasive way by nailfold videocapillaroscopy (NVC). The paper highlights clinical conditions related to SSc in which NVC may represent an outcome measure of therapeutical interventions, by elaborating on their already assessed relationship with the NVC patterns and eventually scores. The 3 important biological/clinical conditions are: the positivity for SSc-specific serum autoantibodies, the presence of SSc skin digital ulcers (DUs) and of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) SSc associated. In conclusion, to the question if capillaroscopy (NVC) may represent in SSc an outcome measure for clinical trials on the peripheral vasculopathy, based on the growing evidence and our detailed studies, the answer is positive. Recent therapeutic trials in SSc are confirming this role, and the experience is growing rapidly.