Arterial Imaging in Digital Gangrenes Associated with Scleroderma-Spectrum Disorders


Objectives: Digital refractory gangrene is rarely found in collagen diseases, including systemic sclerosis and is possibly caused by similar underlying vascular damage in peripheral arterial disease (PAD) such as arteriosclerosis obliterans (ASO) and/or thromboangiitis obliterans (TAO) by unclarified mechanisms other than vasculitis and thrombosis. This study evaluated the radiological imaging in patients with digital gangrene associated with collagen disease and compared the images with those of PAD based on the results of laboratory and histopathological examinations. Methods: Angiography, MR angiography and/or CT angiography were performed on 6 patients with refractory gangrene or extensive ulcers accompanied by scleroderma-spectrum disorders; 3 with diffuse systemic sclerosis, 1 with limited systemic sclerosis, 1 with overlap syndrome and 1 with Sj?gren’s syndrome. Results: Although the vascular alterations in collagen diseases were similar to those in PAD, the abnormal image findings (occlusion or stenosis of the arteries with smooth vessel walls) found in collagen diseases did not include atheromatous plaque, which are worm-like vessels that are characteristic of those observed in PAD. Conclusions: Some cases of digital gangrene seen in collagen diseases show similar vascular imaging patterns to those of PAD and comprehensive examinations including arterial imaging can be useful for the diagnosis of these unrecognized vascular changes other than vasculitis or digital thrombosis.

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N. Nagata, A. Tanemura, H. Higashihara, Y. Kotobuki, H. Murota, M. Tani, K. Igawa and I. Katayama, "Arterial Imaging in Digital Gangrenes Associated with Scleroderma-Spectrum Disorders," Open Journal of Rheumatology and Autoimmune Diseases, Vol. 2 No. 2, 2012, pp. 21-25. doi: 10.4236/ojra.2012.22005.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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