Skin ulcers in systemic sclerosis: Determinants of presence and predictive factors of healing

Stefano Alivernini, Maria De Santis, Barbara Tolusso, Alice Mannocci, Silvia Laura Bosello, Giusy Peluso, Michela Pinnelli, Graziella D'Antona, Giuseppe LaTorre, Gianfranco Ferraccioli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Skin ulcers are common vascular complications of systemic sclerosis (SSc). Objective: The aim of the study was to identify clinical, biologic, and imaging parameters that constitute risk factors for the occurrence and persistence of skin ulcers. Methods: One hundred thirty Italian SSc patients were examined at entry and after 20 months of follow-up. Results: The diffuse SSc phenotype with avascular areas on capillaroscopy, thrombophilia, and systemic inflammation as defined by interleukin 6 plasma levels, represented the major risk factors for ulcer development. Infection was associated with a risk of poor or no healing, and cardiopulmonary involvement was a major comorbid factor in patients with ulcers. The presence of infection and avascular areas represented the main determinants for ulcer healing. Limitations: Our data should be confirmed with a longer follow-up period since skin ulcers represent a frequent vascular complication in scleroderma patients. Conclusion: Aggressive therapies aiming at improving angiogenesis and controlling infection and the course of the disease appear to be crucial to obtain ulcer healing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-435
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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