Characterization of Venezuelan patients with systemic sclerosis: a study in a tertiary hospital in Caracas

Daniel Rivas-Vargas, Soham Al Snih, Martín A. Rodríguez

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Objective: The aim of the study was to investigate the demographic and clinical characteristics of Venezuelan patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) seen in a tertiary hospital. Methods: Consecutive patients 18 years and older who fulfilled the 2013 ACR/EULAR classification criteria for SSc and who were followed up in the outpatient clinic of the Division of Rheumatology at the Hospital Universitario de Caracas were selected for the study. Demographic and clinical variables were registered at the time of inclusion using a standard protocol. Results: Forty-eight SSc patients were included; 46 (95.8%) were female; the mean age was 55.1 ± 13.7 (mean ± SD) years and all were of Hispanic ethnicity. Thirty-one (64.6%) had limited SSc and 17 (35.4%) had diffuse SSc. The mean duration of disease was 13.4 ± 11.7 (mean ± SD) years, 16.74 ± 12.99 years for limited SSc and 7.52 ± 5.25 years for diffuse SSc (p = 0.0077). Raynaud's phenomenon was the most frequent manifestation (100%), followed by arthritis (68.8%), telangiectasia (60.4%), dyspnea (60.4%), dysphagia (58.3%) and puffy hands (56.3%). The modified Rodnan Skin Score (mRSS) and the frequency of dyspnea were higher in those with diffuse as compared to limited SSc (p = 0.0211 and p = 0.0003, respectively). We performed high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) of the lungs in 31 patients; 14 (45.2%) had evidence of interstitial lung disease (ILD), 11 (68.8%) with diffuse SSc (p = 0.0052). The most frequent anti-nuclear antibody pattern was nucleolar, accounting for 18 (42.8%) of the cases. Anti-centromere antibodies were present in 16.7% of the cases and were associated with the limited SSc subset (p = 0.0443) and with calcinosis (p = 0.0020). Anti-topoisomerase antibodies were associated with ILD (p = 0.0077). Conclusions: Typical clinical and serological manifestations were present in this sample of Venezuelan patients with SSc, with an expected distribution according to disease subtype. The autoantibody profile allows clinicians to identify those patients with limited forms of the disease and those without pulmonary involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-606
Number of pages6
JournalReumatologia Clinica
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Demography
  • Epidemiology
  • Hispanic
  • Systemic sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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