Prospective study of the evolution of Raynaud's phenomenon

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      Seventy-four patients with Raynaud's phenomenon and no associated illness were followed prospectively to determine whether a secondary disease would develop, and clinical and laboratory assessments were performed at study entry to determine their association with the subsequent development of disease. After an average of 2.7 years of follow-up (range 0.5 to 5.7 years), outcome information was available on 58 persons (78.4 percent). A connective tissue disease developed in 11 (19.0 percent): three systemic sclerosis and eight CREST syndrome. The two variables at entry most strongly associated with the subsequent development of a connective tissue disease were an abnormal nailfold capillary pattern (adjusted odds ratio = 26.82, 95 percent confidence Interval= 4.69, 153.2) and an abnormal pulmonary function test result (odds ratio = 4.78, 95 percent confidence interval = 1.02, 22.41). The positive association of an abnormal barium esophagram, presence of antinuclear antibodies, and cutaneous abnormalities did not reach statistical significance. The development of connective tissue diseases in this group of patients is not rare. An abnormal nailfold capillary pattern is strongly associated with the subsequent development of systemic sclerosis or CREST syndrome in patients with Raynaud's phenomenon.
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