Correlation between capillaroscopic classifications and severity in systemic sclerosis: results from SCLEROCAP study at inclusion

Clin Exp Rheumatol. Jul-Aug 2019;37 Suppl 119(4):63-68. Epub 2019 May 30.


Objectives: We assessed the correlation between severity of systemic sclerosis (SSc) and current staging systems based on nailfold capillaroscopy.

Methods: SCLEROCAP is a multicenter prospective study including consecutive scleroderma patients who have a yearly routine follow-up with capillaroscopy and digital blood pressure measurement. Capillaroscopy images were read by two observers blinded from each other, then by a third one in the case of discordance. A follow-up of 3 years is planned. The present study assessed the correlation between severity of systemic sclerosis (SSc) and current staging systems based on nail fold capillaroscopy at enrollment in the SCLEROCAP study. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed for both the Maricq and Cutolo classifications.

Results: SCLEROCAP included 387 patients in one year. Maricq's active and Cutolo's late classifications were very similar. In multivariate analysis, the number of digital ulcers (OR for 2 ulcers or more, respectively 2.023 [1.074-3.81] and 2.596 [1.434-4.699]) and Rodnan's skin score >15 (OR respectively 32.007 [6.457-158.658] and 18.390 [5.380-62.865]) correlated with Maricq's active and Cutolo's late stages. Haemoglobin rate correlated with Cutolo's late stage (hemoglobin<100 vs. >120 g/dl: OR 0.223 [0.051-0.980]), and total lung capacity with Maricq's active one: increase in 10%: OR0.833 [0.717-0.969].

Conclusions: The correlations found between capillaroscopy and severity of SSc are promising before the ongoing prospective study definitively assesses whether capillaroscopy staging predicts complications of SSc. Only two capillaroscopic patterns seem useful: one involving many giant capillaries and haemorrhages and the other with severe capillary loss.

MeSH terms

  • Capillaries
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopic Angioscopy / methods*
  • Nails
  • Prospective Studies
  • Scleroderma, Systemic* / classification
  • Scleroderma, Systemic* / pathology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Skin Ulcer* / classification
  • Skin Ulcer* / pathology