Objective. To evaluate renal vascular damage in Japanese patients with syst
emic sclerosis (SSc) by colour-flow Doppler ultrasonography.
Methods. The pulsatility index (PI) was measured in renal interlobar and se
gmental arteries by colour-few Doppler ultrasonography.
Results. PI values Of interlobar arteries were increased in SSc patients (n
= 53) with normal renal function compared with healthy persons (n = 16), s
ystemic lupus erythematosus patients (n = 12) and dermatomyositis patients
(n = 3). SSc patients with elevated PI levels had digital pitting scar, sho
rt sublingual frenulum, contracture of phalanges, pulmonary fibrosis, decre
ased per cent vital capacity. heart involvement, positivity for anti-topois
omerase I antibody, and elevated C-reactive protein more frequently than th
ose with normal PI levels.
Conclusion. Although renal crisis is rare in Japanese SSc patients, our stu
dy suggests that latent and subclinical renal damage exists in these patien