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Feature Article

Managing scleroderma: challenges in primary care

Vivek Thakkar, Owen A Moore, Wendy Stevens, Mandana Nikpour

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Abstract

Scleroderma is a complex and challenging connective tissue disease that may affect multiple organ systems. Most patients have a slowly progressive course and can be managed with vigilant screening, monitoring and timely intervention.

Key Points

  • Scleroderma is a multisystem disease affecting the skin and a number of internal organs.
  • Close surveillance and timely intervention for end-organ involvement is vital.
  • Lung complications are the leading cause of mortality in patients with scleroderma, and annual screening with doppler echocardiography and pulmonary function tests are recommended.
  • Early referral of patients with the triad of puffy fingers, Raynaud’s phenomenon and positive antinuclear antibodies should be considered.

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