Systemic Sclerosis

Hand involvement in diffuse systemic sclerosis: note flexion contractures of the fingers, shortening of the terminal phalanges as a result of distal bone resorption, and nail dystrophy.


Clinical Background:

A 36 year old male patient who, at the age of 30 yrs, noticed Raynaud's phenomenon and progressive stiffness and tightness involving the skin of the hands and face.     He received no medical treatment for 6 years and when he was finally admitted to our Department he had advanced acrosclerosis and a severe pulmonary involvement.    Antinuclear autoantibodies on HEp-2 cells and anti-Scl-70 were found.


The hands may be severely involved in systemic sclerosis.     The resulting ulcers and contractures may cause discomfort and pain which may interfere with normal daily activities. Early diagnosis and treatment are a primary goal in the management of systemic sclerosis because once the skin has become sclerotic the efficacy of drug therapy is minimal.

All contents copyright of the "On-line Archives of Rheumatology", 1996