Nailfold capillaroscopy - How many fingers should be examined to detect abnormality?

Graham Dinsdale, Chris Roberts, Tonia Moore, Joanne Manning, Michael Berks, John Allen, Marina E. Anderson, Maurizio Cutolo, Roger Hesselstrand, Kevin Howell, Carmen Pizzorni, Vanessa Smith, Alberto Sulli, Marie Wildt, Christopher Taylor, Andrea Murray, Ariane L. Herrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives
Nailfold capillaroscopy is being increasingly used by rheumatologists in the diagnosis of SSc. However, assessment of all nailfolds can be time-consuming in a busy outpatient clinic. Our aim was to answer the question as to how many (and which) fingers a clinician should routinely assess to capture accurately the true state.

Methods
A total of 2994 assessments (by an international panel of expert observers) of 1600 images from 173 participants (101 with SSc, 22 with primary RP and 50 healthy controls) were included in this analysis. Seven single-finger or finger combinations (derived from the middle and ring fingers) were then tested for sensitivity for the presence of two markers of capillary abnormality [presence of giant capillaries and an SSc grade (early, active or late)] compared with assessment of all eight fingers.

Results
For the eight-finger gold standard, sensitivity against the diagnostic criteria was 74.6% (53.0% for the presence of giants alone and 73.1% for image grade alone). Examining only one finger gave low sensitivity (ranging from right middle 31.7% to left ring 46.6%). Examining both ring fingers gave a sensitivity of 59.8%, whereas examining the four-finger combination of both ring and both middle fingers gave a sensitivity of 66.7%.

Conclusion
During routine capillaroscopic examination, ideally all eight nailbeds (excluding thumbs) should be examined, otherwise some abnormalities will be missed. Examining only four fingers reduces capillaroscopy sensitivity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284–288
Number of pages5
JournalRheumatology
Volume58
Issue number2
Early online date21 Sep 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Free access to article

Keywords

  • capillaroscopy
  • diagnosis
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon
  • systemic sclerosis

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