Joint committee updates criteria for scleroderma

October 14, 2013

Updated classification criteria for scleroderma should allow for earlier identification and treatment of the autoimmune disease.

 

Updated classification criteria for scleroderma should allow for earlier identification and treatment of the autoimmune disease.

The American College of Rheumatism (ACR) and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) brought together a joint committee led by Janet Pope, M.D., Western University of Canada, London, Ontario, and Frank van den Hoogen, M.D., St. Maartenskliniek, Netherlands, with the goal of improving the classification criteria systemic sclerosis (SSc), also known as scleroderma.

“The 2013 SSc classification criteria allow more people to be classified with scleroderma compared to the older 1980 criteria,” Dr. Pope tells Dermatology Times. “The new criteria include autoantibodies and dilated nail fold capillaries as well as various other manifestations and are actually more sensitive and more specific.”

According to the new criteria, patients with thickening of the skin in the middle part of the fingers are automatically classified as having systemic sclerosis. Other indicators include skin thickening of the fingers, fingertip lesions, telangiectasia, abnormal nail fold capillaries, pulmonary arterial hypertension, Raynaud’s phenomenon and SSc-related antibodies.

The updates are the first since 1980.

“The 1980 ACR criteria were not sensitive enough to identify patients with early disease or limited cutaneous system sclerosis,” Dr. van den Hoogen said in a news release. “Our efforts with the joint committee addressed this sensitivity issue, resulting in the 2013 classification criteria for systemic sclerosis.”

The criteria were published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.