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Rev Bras Reumatol. 2012 Aug;52(4):561-8.

Evaluation of endothelial function in patients with limited systemic sclerosis by use of brachial artery Doppler ultrasound.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

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  • 1Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.



The aim of this study was to compare the brachial artery endothelium-dependent and endothelium-independent dilating responses in patients with limited systemic sclerosis (LSSc) with those of healthy subjects of the same gender, age and color.


Twenty adult, non-obese, non-smoker, non-diabetic, non-dyslipidemic, and non-hypertensive women, who fulfilled the American College of Rheumatology criteria for the diagnosis of SSc, were submitted to right brachial artery Doppler ultrasound. The vasodilating responses were analyzed as follows: the endothelium-dependent dilating response, after a 5-minute ischemia in the right arm; and the endothelium-independent dilating response, after administering 300 mcg of nitroglycerin (NTG) sublingually. The results were compared with the response obtained in healthy subjects.


Brachial artery longitudinal diameter was significantly low at baseline 1: 3.57 ± 0.52 mm and 3.93 ± 0.39 mm for the LSSc group and the control group, respectively, P = 0.005. The vascular reactivity after the ischemia/reactive hyperemia and the NTG showed no significant difference between the groups (8.60 ± 5.45 mm vs. 9.26 ± 5.91 mm and 25.01 ± 12.55 mm vs. 19.59 ± 7.94 mm for the LSSc and control groups, respectively). Also, no statistically significant difference was found between red blood cell velocity (RBCV) after reactive hyperemia and NTG (110.2 ± 43.86 cm/s vs. 102.0 ± 25.89 cm/s and 63.80 ± 17.69 cm/s vs. 65.4 ± 12.90 cm/s in the LSSc and control groups, respectively).


Although the LSSc group showed lower brachial artery diameter, the endothelium-dependent and the endothelium-independent dilating responses were preserved in both groups.

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