Nailfold capillaroscopy

Vanessa Smith, Claudia Ickinger, Elvis Hysa, Marcus Snow, Tracy Frech, Alberto Sulli, Maurizio Cutolo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Nailfold capillaroscopy is a safe and well-established method for the assessment of structural alterations of the microcirculation. It is a crucial tool in the investigation and monitoring of patients presenting with Raynaud's phenomenon. Detection of the characteristic “scleroderma pattern” on capillaroscopy may indicate an underlying rheumatic disease, particularly systemic sclerosis (SSc). Herein, we highlight the practical aspects of videocapillaroscopy, including image acquisition and analysis, with mention of dermoscopy. Special emphasis is placed on standardized use of terminology to describe capillary characteristics. Systematic evaluation of images in discerning the normal from the abnormal using the validated European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (EULAR) Study Group consensus reporting framework is paramount. In addition to the relevance of capillaroscopy in the (very) early diagnosis of SSc, its emerging predictive value (especially capillary loss) for new organ involvement and disease progression is underscored. We further provide capillaroscopic findings in selected other rheumatic diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101849
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Rheumatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Connective tissue diseases
  • EULAR study group on microcirculation in rheumatic diseases
  • Nailfold capillaroscopy
  • Raynaud's phenomenon
  • Scleroderma pattern
  • Systemic sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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