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Clin Rheumatol. 2002 May;21(2):114-8.

Exposure to solvents in female patients with scleroderma.

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Clinical Immunology Unit, Medical Faculty, University of Pécs, Hungary.


The role of exposure to solvents was investigated in female patients with connective tissue disease and Raynaud's phenomenon using a questionnaire. Sixteen out of the 63 patients with systemic sclerosis had been exposed to solvents. A borderline significance was demonstrated compared to matched female controls (P < 0.05). Fourteen out of the 66 patients with undifferentiated connective tissue disease, 18/86 of patients with Raynaud's phenomenon, 6/45 with systemic lupus erythematosus, 1/16 with dermatopolymyositis, 1/15 with rheumatoid arthritis and 0/13 with primary Sjögren's syndrome had been exposed to solvents. None of these groups of patients showed a statistical significance compared to matched controls. Our present findings indicate that, at least in certain areas of the world, exposure to solvents may be a provoking factor in female scleroderma, but it must be emphasised that only a borderline significance was found between the scleroderma patients and controls. A large multicenter study seems to be required to clarify the importance of solvents as provoking factors of scleroderma. Furthermore, exposure to solvents does not seem to be a provoking factor among females for the other connective tissue diseases.

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