OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study were to obtain cross-sectional data on capillaroscopy in an international multi-center cohort of Systemic Sclerosis (SSc) and to investigate the frequency of the capillaroscopic patterns and their disease-phenotype associations.
METHODS: Data collected between June 2004 and October 2011 in the EULAR Scleroderma Trials and Research (EUSTAR) registry were examined. Patients' profiles based on clinical and laboratory data were obtained by cluster analysis and the association between profiles and capillaroscopy was investigated by multinomial logistic regression.
RESULTS: 62 of the 110 EUSTAR centers entered data on capillaroscopy in the EUSTAR database. 376 of the 2754 patients (13.65%) were classified as scleroderma pattern absent, but non-specific capillary abnormalities were noted in 55.48% of the cases. Four major patients' profiles were identified characterized by a progressive severity for skin involvement, as well as an increased number of systemic manifestations. The "early" and "active" scleroderma patterns were generally observed in patients with mild/moderate skin involvement and a low number of disease manifestations, while the "late" scleroderma pattern was found more frequently in the more severe forms of the disease.
CONCLUSION: These data indicate the importance of capillaroscopy in SSc management and that capillaroscopic patterns are directly related to the extent of organ involvement.