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Capillaroscopy of toes

Authors

  • Peter Jung,

    Corresponding author
    1. Karl Landsteiner Institute for Dermatological Research, St. Pölten, Austria
    • Department of Dermatology, State Hospital, St. Pölten, Austria
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  • Franz Trautinger

    1. Department of Dermatology, State Hospital, St. Pölten, Austria
    2. Karl Landsteiner Institute for Dermatological Research, St. Pölten, Austria
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  • Conflict of interest None.

Correspondence to

Dr. Peter Jung

Department of Dermatology

State Hospital St. Pölten

Propst-Fhrer-Strafle 4

3100 St. Pölten, Austria

E-mail: peter.jung@stpoelten.lknoe.at

Summary

Background

Nailfold capillaroscopy of fingers is an important tool for diagnosis and monitoring of collagen-vascular diseases. However, little is known about capillaroscopy of toes.

Patients and methods

Capillaroscopy of the first and second toe was performed in 50 healthy volunteers and 67 patients with chronic venous insufficiency (n = 22), peripheral arterial diseases (n = 24) and collagen-vascular diseases (n = 21) with a capillaroscope under oil immersion with non-polarized light and 50-fold magnification.

Results

Capillary density of toes (5–9/mm) was reduced compared to fingers (7–11/mm).

In contrast to fingers, capillaries of toes show a higher degree of variability. In addition to the classic parallel hairpin form, one may also find tortuous capillaries, ramifications, elongations and capillary bundles. Little difference was noted between patients with vascular and collagen-vascular diseases as compared to volunteers. More ramifications were observed in peripheral arterial diseases and more capillary bundles were seen in collagen-vascular diseases. Pathological patterns such as megacapillaries, avascular areas and hemorrhages were not seen in toes.

Conclusions

The physiological capillary pattern differs between fingers and toes. The detected pathologic alterations in vascular and collagen-vascular diseases have to be confirmed in further studies.

Ancillary