Arterial vasculopathy in systemic sclerosis: Computerized tomography (CT) angiographic features of macrovascular and microvascular upper limbs arteries

Y. Emad, H. Al-Sherbeni, Y. Ragab, I. Abo-El-Youn, N. El-Shaarawy, D.Y. Nassar, A. Fathy, H. Al-Hanafi, Johannes J. Rasker

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Objective To describe the CT angiographic findings of arterial vasculopathy in the major vessels as well as medium and micro vascular affection of the whole upper limbs arterial tree in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) with and without digital ulceration. Methods Twenty-two cases with systemic sclerosis (12 limited and 10 diffuse) were recruited for the study. All patients fulfilled the American Rheumatism Association (ACR) criteria for the classification of SSc. For all patients routine laboratory investigations were performed including complete lipid profile. Computed tomography angiography (CTA) studies for the whole upper limb arterial tree were performed for both upper limbs in all cases. Results CTA studies showed involvement of subclavian arteries in 3 cases and axillary artery was involved in five cases. Brachial artery was affected in 5 cases. In the forearm the radial artery was affected in 4 cases with bilateral involvement in two cases (6 vessels), while ulnar artery was affected in five cases. Unilateral non visualization of the superficial palmar arch was observed in two cases with limited disease, while thinning out of the vessel wall with poor distal run off in 18 cases. A higher number of arterial vasculopathy was significantly associated with systolic pulmonary artery pressure (P = 0.001). Conclusions Macrovascular arterial vasculopathy of upper limbs may occur in SSc irrespective of the disease pattern. Major arteries can be affected in association with other medium sized arteries of the forearms and microvascular arterial branches of the hands.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)433-437
JournalJoint bone spine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • IR-94772
  • METIS-305652

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