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עמוד בית
Mon, 15.04.24

Articles

IMAJ | volume 18

Journal 4, April 2016
pages: 141-143

A New Way of Thinking about Systemic Sclerosis: The Opportunity for a Very Early Diagnosis

    Summary

    Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a heterogeneous chronic autoimmune disease that it is very difficult to diagnose in the early phase, resulting in a critical delay in therapy which is often begun when internal organ involvement is already irreversible. The ACR or LeRoy criteria have a low sensitivity for the early phases; these criteria were replaced by the ACR/EULAR 2013 criteria which improved the disease classification. Therefore, the SSc diagnosis may be delayed for several years after the onset of Raynaud’s phenomenon (RP) and even after the onset of the first non-RP symptom. RP, antinuclear antibodies (ANA) positivity, and puffy fingers were recently indicated as “red flags” (by the VEDOSS project) – that is, the main elements for suspicion of SSc in the very early phase of the disease. Confirming the diagnosis requires further tests, particularly nailfold videocapillaroscopy and evaluation of specific disease antibodies (anti-centromere and anti-topoisomerase I). In this way, the VEDOSS project identified patients in the very early phase of disease enabling a ‘‘window of opportunity’’ whereby the physician can act with effective drugs to block or at least slow the progression of the disease. The principal challenge in the fight against SSc is to detect valid predictors of disease evolution in order to treat patients in the early stage of disease. While waiting to find valid predictors, a close follow-up of the patients with the VEDOSS red flags is essential, as is a close collaboration between rheumatologists and general practitioners in order to identify all potential SSc patients as soon as possible.

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