Objectives: To assess the prevalence of Raynaud's phenomenon (RP) and of RP associated systemic sclerosis (SSc) in a large regional representative study.
Methods: Ten thousand individuals aged between 14-65 years participated in face-to-face interviews. The stratified sample of the South-West Hungarian population was representative for age, sex and urban or rural residence. Individuals reporting complaints suggesting the presence of "clinically significant" RP were asked to undergo a clinical investigation. Patients showing complaints provoked by taking something out of the freezer (-20 degrees C) compartment of the refrigerator and/or whether they had experienced digital ulcers were sorted into this category.
Results: The overall prevalence of RP was at least 578.9/10,000, and the prevalence of "clinically significant" RP could be calculated as at least 87.7/10,000 inhabitants. In this latter group 17.2% of the cases had either established SSc or anticentromere antibody or scleroderma capillary pattern on nailfold capillaroscopy. SSc with "clinically significant" RP and/or ulcers was identified in a prevalence of 9.1/10.000 individuals, whilst there was a prevalence of 14.7/10,000 of RP with either anticentromere antibody or scleroderma capillary pattern.
Conclusions: "Clinically significant" RP affects almost 1% of the population. We identified cases with early stages of scleroderma spectrum disorder showing either anticentromere autoantibody or scleroderma capillary pattern. The prevalence of SSc was found to be higher than expected. It is reasonable to screen "clinically significant" RP cases for scleroderma-related symptoms because this approach makes it possible to identify patients with both SSc and early scleroderma related symptoms.