Sequential nailfold capillary microscopy was carried out monthly for seven months in seven patients (four with scleroderma, one with dermatomyositis, one with mixed connective tissue disease, and one with limited connective tissue disease). Progressive enlargement of some capillary loops was observed, with a number becoming obliterated, leaving avascular areas. Extravasation from capillaries usually preceded capillary loss. These observations have shown the progressive nature of the nailfold capillary abnormalities associated with these disorders and suggest that capillary enlargement is the result of injury, rather than compensation for capillary loss.
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