Systemic Sclerosis

Raynaud's phenomenon: white areas due to vasoconstriction.



Raynaud's phenomenon is an almost constant finding in patients with systemic sclerosis and it is the earliest manifestation, preceding the appearance of sclerodermatous skin changes by several months or years in approximately half of the cases.
Exposure to the cold may induce a transitory vasoconstriction of the digital arteries and arterioles which causes the fingers to turn white, cold, numb and painful.
A cyanotic phase follows, due to stasis and subsequent removal of oxygen from the blood, and finally a reactive hyperemia due to the relaxation of the digital arteries and arterioles.

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