Nailfold Capillaroscopy: If only Rosacea was that Easy to Diagnose

Written by on April 5, 2011 in research with 0 Comments


I thought this abstract was interesting because of its failure. The authors proposed that a passive diagnostic test known as Nailfold Cappillaroscopy could be used to test for rosacea.

Nailfold Capillaroscopy is a procedure where a drop of oil is placed on the nailfold. This is the small fold of skin at the base of a fingernail. The stained area is then examined under magnification to look for abnormalities in the vasculature.

Measurements obtained from the procedure can be used to identify characteristics such as blood flow and capillary dimensions aiding in the diagnosis of conditions such as Raynaud’s and Sjogren Syndrome.

As we now know from this abstract, the capillary patterns of a rosacea sufferers don’t appear to be any different to someone who doesn’t have rosacea. Oh well, maybe one day there will be a simple quantitative diagnostic test for rosacea.

Nailfold capillaroscopy as a diagnostic and prognostic method in rosacea

An Bras Dermatol. 2011 Feb;86(1):87-90., Fonseca GP, Brenner FM, Muller CD, Wojcik AL., Hospital de Clínicas, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, PR, Brasil.

BACKGROUND: There is no appropriate and reliable method of evaluating and monitoring severity in rosacea.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the importance of nailfold capillaroscopy as a diagnostic and prognostic method for patients with rosacea.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study where eight patients with rosacea and 8 control subjects were submitted to nailfold capillaroscopy from May to July 2009. We collected clinical data related to gender, age, skin phototype, and rosacea stage according to Plewig and Kligman classification and the classification of the National Rosacea Society. Additionally, we evaluated the progression of the disease and treatment therapies previously used.

RESULTS: The majority of the patients evaluated (6 out of 8 patients) had rosacea subtype I (vascular) or erythematotelangiectatic rosacea. The mean duration of the disorder was 5.96 years, and 87.5% of the patients were under treatment with topical metronidazole. Nailfold cappilaroscopy showed that evidence of devascularization was absent in both groups.

CONCLUSION: Nailfold capillaroscopy presents a nonspecific pattern and does not seem to help in the diagnosis or prognosis of rosacea.

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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