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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2012 Dec;27(12):4398-403. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfs317. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

Prognosis of scleroderma renal crisis: a long-term observational study.

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Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Padua, Padua, Italy.



Despite the efficacy of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, the prognosis of patients with Scleroderma renal crisis (SRC) is characterized by a high rate of mortality and progression into end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Our aim was to evaluate the prognosis of SRC in our cohort of scleroderma patients.


We reviewed clinical charts of all our patients who developed SRC from 1980 to 2005. Outcome measures were ESRD, patients' survival and SRC-related mortality. ESRD was defined as the need for chronic dialysis; survival was calculated from the time of SRC occurrence by Kaplan-Meier method. All patients were treated with ACE inhibitors and 10 patients were also treated with plasma exchange (PEx). Indications to PEx were concomitant micro-angiopathic haemolytic anaemia or intolerance to high doses of ACE inhibitors. SPSS package was used for calculation.


Of 606 patients, affected with systemic sclerosis, who came at our observation during the aforementioned interval, 20 (3.3%) developed SRC. One year after SRC onset, 55% of patients developed ESRD. The survival rate was 70% at 1 year and 50% at 5 years; the mortality rate related to SRC was 35%. Notably, in the subgroup of patients treated with PEx, 20% developed ESRD; the survival rate was 90% at 1 year and 70% at 5 years; the mortality rate related to SRC was 10%.


Short-term prognosis of SRC has improved, but long-term prognosis remains disappointing. PEx in addition to ACE inhibitors seems to be a therapeutic option in patients with SRC who develop micro-angiopathy or are intolerant to high doses of ACE inhibitors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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