Capillaroscopy in clinical practice
The analysis of skin microcirculation
Nailfold videocapillaroscopy represents the safest, non invasive, less expensive and reliable method to analyze microvascular abnormalities in systemic sclerosis.
Peripheral microangiopathy can be easily recognized and studied early in the disease course by use of nailfold capillaroscopy.
Since microvascular damage and dysfunction represent early markers of systemic sclerosis and are clinically mirrored by secondary Raynaud phenomenon, the diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic implications of microvessel morphological analysis by nailfold videocapillaroscopy enables the best clinical management.
Raynaud phenomenon is often the earliest clinical symptom of digital microcirculatory change and can be considered one of the risk factors for the development of a connective tissue disease.
Nailfold videocapillaroscopy detects the early microvascular abnormalities that characterize secondary Raynaud phenomenon, and the changes are quantifiable.
Combining the power of capillaroscopy for the early diagnosis of secondary Raynaud phenomenon, its predictive value for clinical complications of systemic sclerosis, and its potential for monitoring disease progression/treatment response, makes it an important noninvasive tool for both the clinician and the researcher.
In addition, recent advances in targeted therapies for systemic sclerosis suggest that with well-designed clinical trials, we are now well placed to identify effective disease-modifying drugs.
The facts that expertise in the technique can be rapidly lend further weight to the assertion that videomicroscopy is likely to gain further momentum as a clinical and research tool.