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Research article

Microcirculation abnormalities in patients with fibromyalgia measured by capillary microscopy and laser fluxmetry

Journal: Arthritis Res Ther, 2005, 7:R209-R216

Authors: Susanne Morf [1], Beatrice Amann-Vesti [2], Adrian Forster [1], Ulrich K Franzeck [3], Renate Koppensteiner [3], Daniel Uebelhart [1] and Haiko Sprott [1]

[1] Department of Rheumatology, Institute of Physical Medicine, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland
[2] Department of Medicine, Division of Vascular Medicine (Angiology), University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland
[3] Center for Vascular Diseases, Zurich, Switzerland

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://arthritis-research.com/content/7/2/R209

Received 7 May 2004
Revisions requested 27 May 2004
Revisions received 1 October 2004
Accepted 11 October 2004
Published 10 December 2004

2004 Morf et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is cited.

Keywords: capillary microscopy, fibromyalgia, laser fluxmetry, microcirculation

This unblinded preliminary case-control study was done to demonstrate functional and structural changes in the microcirculation of patients with primary fibromyalgia (FM). We studied 10 women (54.0 3.7 years of age) with FM diagnosed in accordance with the classification criteria of the American College of Rheumatology, and controls in three groups (n = 10 in each group) age-matched women who were healthy or who had rheumatoid arthritis or systemic scleroderma (SSc). All 40 subjects were tested within a 5-week period by the same investigators, using two noninvasive methods, laser fluxmetry and capillary microscopy. The FM patients were compared with the healthy controls (negative controls) and with rheumatoid arthritis patients and SSc patients (positive controls). FM patients had fewer capillaries in the nail fold (P < 0.001) and significantly more capillary dilatations (P < 0.05) and irregular formations (P < 0.01) than the healthy controls. Interestingly, the peripheral blood flow in FM patients was much less (P < 0.001) than in healthy controls but did not differ from that of SSc patients (P = 0.73). The data suggest that functional disturbances of microcirculation are present in FM patients and that morphological abnormalities may also influence their microcirculation.

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