Clinical significance of subcutaneous calcinosis in patients with systemic sclerosis. Does diltiazem induce its regression?

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To establish whether diltiazem reduces subcutaneous calcinosis (SCC) in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), and whether this calcinosis is related to other signs or symptoms.


47 patients with SSc were evaluated and divided into two groups according to the presence or absence of SCC.


Among the 12 patients with SCC who were treated with diltiazem and had sequential hand radiographs (differential time between the two radiographs: 7.8 +/- 4 years), there was a slight radiological improvement in three patients only. More patients with SCC had anticentromere antibodies than patients without (p=0.003), fewer had anti-Scl 70 antibodies (p=0.01), more had telangiectasia and giant capillaries (p=0.04 and 0.048 respectively), and SCC patients had significantly fewer capillaries at the nailfold (p=0.03).


These results do not clearly indicate that diltiazem is effective in calcinosis associated with SSc. Among the patients with SSc, those who also had SCC exhibited a distinctive autoimmune profile and more severe cutaneous capillary injury than those without SCC.

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