Preliminary criteria for the classification of systemic sclerosis (scleroderma)


  • Dr. Alfonse T. Masi PhD,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Medicine, Peoria School of Medicine, 123 SW Glendale Avenue, P O Box 1649, Peoria IL 61656
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  • Subcommittee For Scleroderma Criteria of the American Rheumatism Association Diagnostic and Therapeutic Criteria Committee

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      * Dr. Alfonse T. Masi, MD, DRPH: Cochairman, Subcommittee for Scleroderma Criteria, ARA; Gerald P. Rodnan, MD: Cochairman, Subcommittee for Scleroderma Criteria, ARA; Thomas A. Medsger, Jr., MD: Central Coordinator of the Scleroderma Criteria Cooperative Study; Roy D. Altman, MD; William A. D'Angelo, MD; James F. Fries, MD; E. Carwile LeRoy, MD; Allan B. Kirsner, MD; Allen H. MacKenzie, MD; Dennis J. McShane, MD; Allen R. Myers, MD; Gordon C. Sharp, MD.


A multicenter, ongoing study of early-diagnosed cases of systemic sclerosis and comparison patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, polymyositis/dermatomyositis, and Raynaud's phenomenon was conducted in order to develop classification criteria for systemic sclerosis. Preliminary criteria are proposed, namely, the finding of either the sole major criterion, i.e.,1) sclerodactyly, 2) digital pitting scars of fingertips or loss of substance of the distal finger pad, and 3) bilateral basilar pulmonary fibrosis. When applied to the case and comparison patients included in this study, these proposed criteria had a 97% sensitivity for definite systemic sclerosis and 98% specificity.