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Nailfold videocapillaroscopy micro-haemorrhage and giant capillary counting as an accurate approach for a steady state definition of disease activity in systemic sclerosis

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Abstract

Introduction: Nailfold videocapillaroscopy (NVC) in systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a procedure commonly used for patient classification and subsetting, but not to define disease activity (DA). This study aimed to evaluate whether the number of micro-haemorrhages (MHE), micro-thrombosis (MT), giant capillaries (GC), and normal/dilated capillaries (Cs) in NVC could predict DA in SSc. Methods: Eight-finger NVC was performed in 107 patients with SSc, and the total number of MHE/MT, GC, and the mean number of Cs were counted and defined as number of micro-haemorrhages (NEMO), GC and Cs scores, respectively. The European Scleroderma Study Group (ESSG) index constituted the gold standard for DA assessment, and scores ≥3.5 and =3 were considered indicative of high and moderate activity, respectively. Results: NEMO and GC scores were positively correlated with ESSG index (R = 0.65, P <0.0001, and R = 0.47, P <0.0001, respectively), whilst Cs score showed a negative correlation with that DA index (R = -0.30, P <0.001). The area under the curve (AUC) of receiver operating characteristic plots, obtained by NEMO score sensitivity and specificity values in classifying patients with ESSG index ≥3.5, was significantly higher than the corresponding AUC derived from either GC or Cs scores (P <0.03 and P <0.0006, respectively). A modified score, defined by the presence of a given number of MHE/MT and GC, had a good performance in classifying active patients (ESSG index ≥3, sensitivity 95.1%, specificity 84.8%, accuracy 88.7%). Conclusions: MHE/MT and GC appear to be good indicators of DA in SSc, and enhances the role of NVC as an easy technique to identify active patients.

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Sambataro, D., Sambataro, G., Zaccara, E., Maglione, W., Polosa, R., Afeltra, A. M. V., … del Papa, N. (2014). Nailfold videocapillaroscopy micro-haemorrhage and giant capillary counting as an accurate approach for a steady state definition of disease activity in systemic sclerosis. Arthritis Research and Therapy, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13075-014-0462-8

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