OBJECTIVES--To report the cases of three patients with CREST syndrome and one patient with diffuse scleroderma who had severe macrovascular disease and only minimal vascular risk factors. METHODS--The medical histories, physical examinations, and results of clinical investigations were reviewed in four patients. RESULTS--These four patients had severe morbidity from macrovascular disease of the arms and legs in the presence of minimal underlying vascular risk factors. These patients represent 11% of the women with scleroderma seen at our hospital since 1974. This is a greater than threefold increase above the expected proportion of symptomatic vascular disease seen in population studies. In the patients with CREST syndrome, large vessel disease was first seen more than 10 years after the onset of Raynaud's phenomenon, which was the first manifestation of the disease. A pathological specimen of the ulnar artery from one patient showed severe luminal narrowing by an acellular material with no evidence of atheroma. CONCLUSIONS--These cases suggest an association of both the CREST syndrome and scleroderma with macrovascular disease.
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