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Adv Surg. 1996;30:333-47.

Current management of Raynaud's syndrome.

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  • 1Division of Vascular Surgery, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, USA.


Raynaud's syndrome affects 20% to 25% of the population in cool, damp climates. Although its etiology and pathophysiology are poorly understood, treatment options do exist. For mild cases, the wearing of gloves, cold avoidance, tobacco cessation, and assurance that this is a nuisance condition that will not lead to finger amputation are often all that is required. Patients who fail this protocol are treated with extended-release nifedipine, 30 mg, at bedtime. In our experience, 70% to 80% respond with a decrease in severity and frequency of attacks, but 20% to 50% develop intolerable side effects. If nifedipine fails, we consider another calcium-channel blocker, an ACE inhibitor, or Dibenzyline. Biofeedback is offered to patients, but in our experience few are interested. Patients with digital ulceration are treated with nifedipine, pentoxifylline, and antibiotics as needed. We recommend soap-and-water washes and either a damp dressing or Silvadene cream. If there is chronic non-healing or intractable pain, we have on occasion performed a fingertip amputation. Although these do not tend to heal promptly, they generally do heal with time and provide excellent pain relief. We have not performed upper extremity sympathectomy for nonhealing finger ulcers in more than 20 years.

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