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ANCA-associated vasculitis in scleroderma: a case series of fourteen patients

Posted Mar 09 2011 3:09am
Antimyeloperoxidase (MPO), perinuclear antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (pANCA), and/or clinically evident vasculitis in patients with scleroderma have been reported only rarely. The clinical significance and prognosis of ANCA-associated vasculitis in systemic sclerosis is uncertain.

To report a case and identify the clinical characteristics of scleroderma patients with ANCA-associated vasculitis. Patients with both vasculitis and scleroderma occurring between 1976 to 2006 were identified using an electronic diagnostic index. These diagnoses were confirmed by retrospective review of complete medical records.

Clinical features and outcomes recorded included age at vasculitis diagnosis, connective tissue disease (CTD) features, type of scleroderma (limited or diffuse); ANCA serology, vasculitic organ system manifestations; and death. Fourteen cases of scleroderma patients with ANCA-associated and/or small vessel vasculitis were identified. The majority (71%) were female, with mean age at vasculitis diagnosis 53 years.

Seven patients (50%) had overlap CTD features, and the majority (79%) had limited variant of scleroderma. All of the 10 patients tested were MPO and pANCA positive. Seven patients (50%) had glomerulonephritis, 11 (79%) pulmonary involvement including 3 with pulmonary-renal syndrome, 6 skin purpura, and 5 mononeuritis multiplex and/or peripheral neuropathy.

Six patients (43%) died during followup to 2008. The presence of pANCA-associated small vessel vasculitis is a rarely reported complication of scleroderma. It occurs most commonly in women with limited scleroderma and most commonly includes pulmonary and/or renal involvement, including severe organ-threatening manifestations and death. Further studies are needed to clarify the role and clinical impact of ANCA in scleroderma patients with and without vasculitis.

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