Raynaud's phenomenon: pathogenesis and management

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008 Oct;59(4):633-53. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2008.06.004. Epub 2008 Jul 24.


Raynaud's phenomenon is a common clinical disorder for which patients frequently seek the expertise and care of dermatologists. It is manifested by recurrent vasospasm of the fingers and toes, often associated with exposure to cold temperature or emotional stress. The phenomenon is named after Maurice Raynaud, who, as a medical student, defined the first case in 1862 as episodic, symmetric, acral vasospasm characterized by pallor, cyanosis, suffusion, and a sense of fullness or tautness, which may be painful. Despite more than 140 years of research, the pathophysiology of Raynaud's phenomenon continues to elude investigators. Accordingly, although many pharmacologic treatments have been reported, there is still no cure or gold standard therapy. Further, response to treatment varies and is difficult to predict. Recently, there has been renewed interest in finding the pathogenetic mechanisms of Raynaud's phenomenon, an effort that has led to more potential targeted therapeutics. The purpose of this review is to discuss recent breakthroughs in the pathogenesis and treatment of Raynaud's phenomenon.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Fibrinolysis
  • Humans
  • Platelet Activation
  • Raynaud Disease / diagnosis
  • Raynaud Disease / etiology
  • Raynaud Disease / physiopathology*
  • Raynaud Disease / therapy*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Sympathectomy


  • Reactive Oxygen Species