Objective. To characterize vascular lesions in SSc disease with high-resolution magnetic resonance angiography (Micro-MRA) of the finger. Methods. Eight SSc subjects and eight age- and sex-matched healthy controls were recruited for this study. Among the SSc subjects, the mean ± s.d. age was 54.5 ± 4.9 yrs, and the mean ± s.d. duration of disease was 8.3 ± 8.4 yrs. The numbers of SSc subjects that had telangiectasia, calcinosis and impaired finger flexion were 3, 2 and 3, respectively. The 2D time-of-flight micro-MRA was performed on a 3T clinical MRI scanner using a custom-designed finger coil with an in-plane resolution of 0.16 times; 0.21 mm2 and slice thickness of 1.2 mm. The data for the proper palmar digital artery lumen area, the number of visible dorsal digital veins and a semi-quantitative vascular score, which evaluates the overall integrity of digital vessels, were independently evaluated by two experienced reviewers who were blinded to the status of the subject. Results. Micro-MRA detected significant differences in the digital vasculature between SSc subjects and healthy volunteers. The SSc subjects had a significantly decreased digital artery lumen area (0.13 ± 0.06 vs 0.53 ± 0.26 mm2, P<0.001), a reduced number of digital veins (0.63 ± 1.06 vs 3.13 ± 0.99, P=0.001) and a lowered overall vascular score (1.75 ± 1.04 vs 3.5 ± 0.53, P=0.001). The study also found that both the digital artery lumen area (Pearson's; r= -0.72, P=0.044) and vascular scores (Spearman's ρ=-0.75, P=0.047) of the SSc subjects were inversely correlated with the duration of the disease. Conclusions. Micro-MRA can be used to identify and quantitatively characterize the vascular disease in SSc fingers. The parameters derived from micro-MRA could potentially be used as prospective biomarkers for clinical evaluation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank the Scleroderma Research Foundation (SRF) for providing funding for this study. We also thank Dr Cecil Hayes and Mark Mathis for their help on designing the finger coil, and we also thank Sonya Vatomsky and Zach Miller for editing the manuscript.
- Finger imaging
- Micro magnetic resonance angiography
- Systemic sclerosis
- Vascular disease