Objective: To investigate whether nailfold videocapillaroscopy (NVC), an increasingly worldwide used non-invasive tool to reliably evaluate the peripheral microcirculation, may be an outcome measure in future screening algorithms for systemic sclerosis related interstitial lung disease (SSc-ILD).
Methods: A systematic review to identify original research papers documenting an association between NVC and SSc-ILD was performed in 3 electronic databases according to the PRISMA guidelines. Subsequently, NVC parameters were subdivided according to the consented standardised capillaroscopic definitions of the EULAR Study Group on Microcirculation in Rheumatic Diseases / Scleroderma Clinical Trials Consortium on Capillaroscopy, into quantitative (capillary density, capillary dimension, capillary morphology and haemorrhages) and qualitative assessment (NVC pattern).
Results: The systematic search identified 310 unique search results, of which 2 cross-sectional and 1 longitudinal study were retained. In both cross-sectional studies, the presence of SSc-ILD was found to be inversely associated with capillary density (p = .008 and p = .005). The presence of a severe (active/late) NVC pattern was evaluated and associated with the presence of SSc-ILD in one of the cross-sectional studies. In the longitudinal study, incident SSc-ILD was associated with progressive capillary loss (p = .03) and the conversion to a worse (active/late) NVC pattern (p = .001/p = .003).
Conclusions: This first systematic literature review investigating the role of NVC in SSc-ILD using standardised capillaroscopic definitions uncovered associations between NVC and (incident) SSc-ILD. If large prospective studies further corroborate and elucidate these findings, NVC might possibly be a candidate outcome measure to be integrated in screening algorithms for incident/progressive SSc-ILD.
Keywords: EULAR Study Group on Microcirculation in Rheumatic Diseases; Interstitial lung disease; Microcirculation; Nailfold videocapillaroscopy; Systematic literature review; Systemic sclerosis.
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