Nailfold microvascular changes in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and their associative factors


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Publication Details

Author list: Karbalaie, Abdolamir

Publisher: Elsevier

Publication year: 2019

ISSN: 0026-2862

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mvr.2019.103910



The aim of this study was to determine capillaroscopic changes in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and their predictors.


Fifty-nine SLE patients and 31 controls were enrolled in a cross-sectional study. Nailfold capillaroscopy examinations were performed, and qualitative semi-quantitative and quantitative parameters were evaluated in all fingers. Demographic features and lupus characteristics, such as renal involvement, medications, laboratory data, disease activity (SLEDAI) and damage, were recorded. The predictors of capillaroscopic abnormalities were obtained by backward stepwise regression analysis.


Capillary numbers of right hands were significantly lower in patients than in controls [8.74 (1.66) vs. 9.63 (1.80), P?=?0.0001]. Capillaries were wider in patients than in controls in right [56.32?µm (16.76) vs. 50.43?µm (10.16), P?=?0.002] and left hands [54.40 (15.02) vs. 49.71 (9.77), P?=?0.005]. Capillaries were shorter in SLE patients than in controls. Multivariate analysis revealed that the main associative factors of microvascular abnormalities were gender, drinking tea and hydroxychloroquine use for giant capillaries, SLEDAI and low C3 for avascularity and age, lupus nephritis and corticosteroid use for ramification.


Most nailfold capillaroscopic abnormalities were more common in SLE patients than in controls. Hydroxychloroquine, corticosteroids, SLEDAI, low complement and lupus nephritis may be the major prognostic factors for microvascular changes in SLE patients.


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