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      Local hyperhemia to heating is impaired in secondary Raynaud's phenomenon

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          Accurate and sensitive measurement techniques are a key issue in the quantification of the microvascular and endothelial dysfunction in systemic sclerosis (SSc). Thermal hyperhemia comprises two separate mechanisms: an initial peak that is axon reflex mediated; and a sustained plateau phase that is nitric oxide dependent. The main objective of our study was to test whether thermal hyperhemia in patients with SSc differed from that in patients with primary Raynaud's phenomenon (RP) and healthy controls. In a first study, we enrolled 20 patients suffering from SSc, 20 patients with primary RP and 20 healthy volunteers. All subjects were in a fasting state. Post-occlusive hyperhemia, 0.4 mg sublingual nitroglycerin challenge and thermal hyperhemia were performed using laser Doppler flowmetry on the distal pad of the third left finger. In a second study, thermal hyperhemia was performed in 10 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 10 patients with primary RP. The thermal hyperhemia was dramatically altered in terms of amplitude and kinetics in patients with SSc. Whereas 19 healthy volunteers and 18 patients with primary RP exhibited the classic response, including an initial peak within the first 10 minutes followed by a nadir and a second peak, this occurred only in four of the SSc patients (p < 0.0001). The 10 minutes thermal peak was 43.4 (23.2 to 63), 42.6 (31 to 80.7) and 27 (14.7 to 51.4) mV/mm Hg in the healthy volunteers, primary RP and SSc groups, respectively (p = 0.01), while the 44°C thermal peak was 43.1 (21.3 to 62.1), 42.6 (31.6 to 74.3) and 25.4 (15 to 52.4) mV/mm Hg, respectively (p = 0.01). Thermal hyperhemia was more sensitive and specific than post-occlusive hyperhemia for differentiating SSc from primary RP. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, thermal hyperhemia was also altered in terms of amplitude. Thermal hyperhemia is dramatically altered in patients with secondary RP in comparison with subjects with primary RP. Further studies are required to determine the mechanisms of this altered response, and whether it may provide additional information in a clinical setting.

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          The American Rheumatism Association 1987 revised criteria for the classification of rheumatoid arthritis.

          The revised criteria for the classification of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were formulated from a computerized analysis of 262 contemporary, consecutively studied patients with RA and 262 control subjects with rheumatic diseases other than RA (non-RA). The new criteria are as follows: 1) morning stiffness in and around joints lasting at least 1 hour before maximal improvement; 2) soft tissue swelling (arthritis) of 3 or more joint areas observed by a physician; 3) swelling (arthritis) of the proximal interphalangeal, metacarpophalangeal, or wrist joints; 4) symmetric swelling (arthritis); 5) rheumatoid nodules; 6) the presence of rheumatoid factor; and 7) radiographic erosions and/or periarticular osteopenia in hand and/or wrist joints. Criteria 1 through 4 must have been present for at least 6 weeks. Rheumatoid arthritis is defined by the presence of 4 or more criteria, and no further qualifications (classic, definite, or probable) or list of exclusions are required. In addition, a "classification tree" schema is presented which performs equally as well as the traditional (4 of 7) format. The new criteria demonstrated 91-94% sensitivity and 89% specificity for RA when compared with non-RA rheumatic disease control subjects.
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            Guidelines for the ultrasound assessment of endothelial-dependent flow-mediated vasodilation of the brachial artery: a report of the International Brachial Artery Reactivity Task Force.

            Endothelial function is thought to be an important factor in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, hypertension and heart failure. In the 1990s, high-frequency ultrasonographic imaging of the brachial artery to assess endothelium-dependent flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) was developed. The technique provokes the release of nitric oxide, resulting in vasodilation that can be quantitated as an index of vasomotor function. The noninvasive nature of the technique allows repeated measurements over time to study the effectiveness of various interventions that may affect vascular health. However, despite its widespread use, there are technical and interpretive limitations of this technique. State-of-the-art information is presented and insights are provided into the strengths and limitations of high-resolution ultrasonography of the brachial artery to evaluate vasomotor function, with guidelines for its research application in the study of endothelial physiology.
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                Author and article information

                Arthritis Res Ther
                Arthritis Research & Therapy
                BioMed Central (London )
                19 July 2005
                : 7
                : 5
                : R1103-R1112
                [1 ]Laboratory HP2, EA 3745 Inserm ESPRI, Grenoble Medical School, France
                [2 ]Inserm Clinical Research Center 03, Grenoble University Hospital, Grenoble, France
                [3 ]Vascular Medicine Department, Grenoble University Hospital, Grenoble, France
                [4 ]Department of Human Physiology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA
                [5 ]Department of Rheumatology, Grenoble University Hospital, Grenoble, France
                [6 ]Internal Medicine Department, Grenoble University Hospital, Grenoble, France
                Copyright © 2005 Boignard et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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